What’s The Difference Between Low, Mid And High-Quality Weed?

Cannabis
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Do you know what qualities to look for when picking out cannabis flower? Here’s how to judge whether your flower is schwag or chronic.

Anna Wilcox
Mar 31, 2017
quality weed

When it comes to cannabis, the quality of the bud can greatly influence the overall consumption experience. But, what are the differences between low, mid, and high-quality weed? Whether you’re trying to improve your cultivation skills or you just want to pick out the best stuff at a dispensary or coffee shop, here’s how to determine the quality of your flower.

Low quality

Whats The Difference 1 Whats The Difference Between Low, Mid And High Quality Weed?
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Low-quality cannabis is often referred to as “bottom shelf”, or “schwag”. While bottom shelf cannabis is typically the least expensive, smoking, vaping, or ingesting low-quality stuff can make for an unpleasant experience.

Low-quality bud is typically harsh, and can certainly inspire a coughing fit or two. Your cannabis will be considered low quality if it:

  • Contains seeds
  • Is dry, easily crumbles, loose shake
  • Is brown in coloration
  • Poor trimming and manicuring
  • Is airy and not dense
  • Contains few crystal-like trichomes
  • Is harsh to smoke, causes chest pain
  • Contains mold, mildews, and residual pesticides
  • Has a poor, weak, or musty smell

Low-quality bud is often older or has been improperly cured and dried. Aged cannabis is higher in a compound known as cannabinol (CBN), which is a breakdown product of THC. CBN is less psychoactive than THC, meaning that you won’t get much of a high from schwag flower.

Mid quality

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Mid-quality cannabis is herb for the average joe. This bud is typically moderately priced and delivers a substantial amount of bang for the buck. Most cannabis sold in dispensaries, coffee shops, and social clubs rest in the mid-quality category. Mid-grade cannabis typically provides average amounts of THC, often between 12 and 17 percent.

Here are some things that determine whether or not your cannabis is mid-quality:

  • Small, tiny buds with adequate trichome coverage
  • Grown from seeds or clones with decent genetics
  • Choppy trimming or manicuring
  • Burns somewhat smooth and may produce a gray ash
  • Average moisture level may be either a little dry or a little too hydrated
  • Has an aroma that may be nice, but not distinguished

Mid-quality buds are often grown by intermediate cannabis cultivators who are just getting the hang of pampering their plants. Both high-THC and high-CBD strains can be mid-quality, as the final outcome depends on how the plant was cultivated, cared for, and processed after growing.

High quality

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High-quality cannabis is the grand supreme in the cannabis world. This bud is often referred to as “loud”, “top-shelf”, “craft”, “boutique”, “fire” and “chronic”. Top-shelf bud can be either high in CBD or in THC. For THC, most samples will test with 18 percent or higher.

The terpene profiles in top-shelf cannabis are often astounding, featuring extremely fragrant and pleasant tastes and aromas. In the contemporary cannabis scene, strains with Cookies or OG genetics often make it to top-shelf status, with fragrant and delicious tastes and aromas.

Some hallmarks of high-quality cannabis are:

  • Organic
  • Superior genetics, craft, boutique, rare
  • Heavy, dense coating of trichomes
  • Extremely fragrant, pleasant aroma
  • Dense or fluffy buds that are large and substantial
  • Perfectly hydrated with between 62 and 65 percent humidity
  • Wide array of colors, ranging from greens to purples, pinks, blacks, blues, and reds
  • Easy to break apart but sticky to the touch
  • Laboratory tested
  • Burns smooth and creates a nice white ash
  • Pesticide, nutrient, and pathogen-free
  • Handled with chopsticks and stored in airproof containers

Unfortunately, with high-quality flower, you’ll be paying top-shelf prices. Extremely high-quality cannabis can sell for a whopping $800 an ounce in some locations.

Fortunately, at the time of writing, most top-shelf strains sell for $16 a gram and under.

Anna Wilcox
Mar 31, 2017