Grades of Weed Quality

Written and Fact Checked by S. Zulfiqar

Grades of weed quality can be compared similarly to that of the different qualities of wine. For instance, there may be many differences between a $5 bottle of pinot noir and a $45 bottle of pinot noir. You may experience a headache after drinking a lower quality bottle of wine, or perhaps you feel intoxicated quicker after the higher quality option. Overall, the function and purpose of the wine still gets the job done.

The same can be said about the grades of weed quality. Luckily, there are a number of physical and psychological features that can help you decipher the grade of weed you are consuming. In this article, learn the difference of each grade quality of weed and how to look for each type. 

Low Grade Weed 

No matter if you know it as schwag, reggie weed, shake, low grade quality is simply really bad weed. However, some people buy it because it is often cheaper in price or the only option available. The look, smell, and effects of low grade weed can be noticeable before and after consumption. 

Low grade weed can be created for a variety of different reasons. Maybe the weed wasn’t dried or cured properly or perhaps the plant itself was grown with lack of nutrients in a poor growing environment. If buds of weed have been harvested too early and not fully matured, they will feel light and airy and contain lower amounts of cannabinoids. Either way, there are many physical qualities that make it easy to identify low grade weed. 

Low grade weed is often darker or can have shades of brown. It may feel extremely stale or brittle than other grades of weed due to improper drying and curing methods. Those with a keen sense of smell may also be able to easily identify low grade weed. Bad weed usually has a musky smell if exposed to high levels of moisture. An overly grassy smell may stink from too much chlorophyll left over from drying and curing procedures, as well as overexposure to too much heat or sunlight. 

With low grade weed, you miss out on all the flavorful, rich terpenes and cannabinoids that are present in cannabis. Stale, brittle, and musky weed takes up most of the flavor profile of low grade weed. 

The effects felt from smoking this reggie weed varies depending on how much cannabis you usually consume. Those who don’t smoke as frequently may still feel effects of this quality of weed. For regular cannabis consumers, the effects of smoking bad weed may not be felt at all due to its low potency and cannabinoid content. Generally, low quality weed is associated with low quantities of cannabinoids such as THC and CBD, about 1% – 10%.

 It’s important to know that smoking low grade weed can risk negative effects if consumed in large amounts. Consuming too much of the contaminants that cause the low quality can be harmful when too much is ingested. 


Medium Grade Weed 

Neither classified as a high nor low low grade, medium grade weed otherwise known as “mid” is a comfortable balance between the two. If the bud is not completely terrible but not the most outstanding example of quality, it is often considered a medium grade weed. Paying attention to its physical and psychological effects when consumed will help you further decipher the specific grade of the bud. 

The outside of the bud should have a decent amount of fully developed trichomes with a good plant to stem ratio. As for the feel of medium quality weed, there should be a slight give of resistance when squeezing the bud, but still being dry enough to break and snap. Some seeds may be present in this grade of weed, ranging from a light to dark shades of green. Compared to low grade, mid grade weed will certainly hold a strong aroma, with an appealing smell of dried flower rather than a musky one. More floral and earthy notes can be tasted from mid grade weed. 

The overall appearance, aroma, and taste of medium grade weed may not be outstanding, but it is a decent, consumable option of cannabis. Depending on the cannabinoid content of medium grade weed, there is a quick onset time for effects felt. Mid grade cannabis can have relatively high levels of various cannabinoids, with THC levels ranging between 12%-20%. The smooth high from mid weed can be felt by any cannabis veteran or newbie, not overwhelming high effects but enough to feel relaxed throughout your day. 


High Grade Weed

Above all else, you can certainly count on high grade weed to be the best of the best. Also known as top shelf, primo, skunk, and dank, this grade of weed will get you as high as its quality. 

If you have been lucky to get your hands on some high grade weed, you have probably noticed the crystalized sheen of trichomes that blanket over the flower. High grade weed often has well manicured buds, with little or no stem and seeds while sparkling in trichomes and cannabinoids. Similar to mid grade weed, this quality should be able to give a slight squeeze and have a defined crack when broken apart. This is a sign that the bud has been correctly dried and cured to maintain the right amount of humidity and temperature, resulting in full levels of cannabinoids. 

The aroma of high grade weed is the ideal example of the term ‘loud,’ often used to describe the pungent, potent aromatic profile of cannabis. Depending on the strain variety, high grade weed will carry strong notes of its dominant terpenes and flavonoids. Whether its fruity, earthy, or skunky, the rich aroma of high quality weed also bursts through in flavor upon each hit. 

In correlation with its loud aroma, high quality weed is also known to give users a higher quality of psychoactive effects. Of course, these effects may differ depending on each individual consumer’s physical and mental tolerance to cannabis. Users who smoke high grades weed quality may feel complete relaxation and an almost melting sensation throughout the body, followed by an intense head rush of euphoria and energy. Which strain you have, where the strain was grown, and even who grew it are also key factors in identifying high quality cannabis. 

THC is one of the most common cannabinoids found in all grades of cannabis, and there is no doubt that high quality weed contains even higher levels of THC. Growers choose to cross breed genetics of cannabis plants to produce weed with higher levels of THC, with some strains commonly exceeding over 20%! 


As the world of cannabis grows larger and larger, it can be overwhelming to identify and understand the different levels of weed. While considering your safety and overconsumption risks, it is always a good idea to choose the highest quality weed that fits within your budgets. 

Simply classified as “low, medium, and high,” cannabis in general is available in a range of different qualities and grades to ensure you are getting exactly what you’ve paid for. 

Interesting Reads: 

How to Make Cannabis Budder, Different Types of Cannabis Products


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