How To Tell Good Weed From Bad

People living in the United Kingdom, along with many other countries, aren’t as fortunate as those in places like the Netherlands, Canada, and Spain when it comes to accessing high-quality cannabis from trustworthy sources. 

Often, when buying from a street vendor, unless you’re a regular customer or know the dealer, they’ll typically see you as an opportunity to get rid of their poor quality weed. 

With that in mind, whether you’re a first-time smoker or more experienced, it’s important to know how to distinguish the good weed from the bad.

How to tell if your weed is good 


The little crystals you see on your buds are called trichomes, and they give you a good indication of the quality of your weed. 

Trichomes are easy to see from the naked eye, and the frostier your weed looks, the more cannabinoids and terpenes are present – meaning the more intoxicating and therapeutic your experience will be. 

However, if the trichomes appear to be more yellow or amber, it probably means that your buds were picked too late and could contain higher levels of CBN – which does carry some potential medicinal benefits, but also could leave you feeling more tired after ingesting. 

Unmistakeable smell 

Cannabis has a distinct smell that is easily recognised by many people, even if they don’t use it themselves. 

If the scent from your weed is a strong herbal, skunk or pine-like smell, it’s more likely that it’s higher quality weed and you’ll have a better smoking experience. Gassy, fruity notes are also indicative if good weed.

On the other hand, if your weed smells like hay, grass, or even like it’s gone off – don’t smoke it. There’s a good chance you’ve been ripped off, or the buds have gone mouldy. 

Sticky & Spongy 

High-quality nugs should feel slightly sticky and spongy to the touch. It should be easy to break apart the weed and also snap the stem.  

You don’t want your weed to be bone-dry and crumble when you touch it, but you also don’t want it to feel too wet either. If it’s hard to break the buds apart, there’s a good chance that they’re too wet, and that makes weed more prone to growing mould. 


Pistils are the orange hairs you can find on your buds. In fact, they are sex organs of the female plants, which are also called stigmas. 

If you can see the pistils on the buds, then your weed has matured well and been harvested at the right time.  

How to tell if your weed is bad 

Stems & Seeds 

One of the main opportunities for vendors looking to offload their poor quality weed is by loading it with stuff that isn’t even smokeable such as sticks, stems, and seeds. 

What’s more, stems and seeds add to the weight, which means you’ll be paying more for something that doesn’t give you any real psychoactive experience. 

So, if there are a lot of clearly visible stems and seeds in your weed, don’t buy it unless you’re getting it for a ridiculously low price. 

Off-coloured or brown 

The good thing about spotting crap weed is that you don’t need much else apart from your eyes, hands, and nose. 

The bad thing is that people still being conned into purchasing weed that’s a strange shade of lime green or even brown.  

The main causes of discoloured buds can be from pesticides, chemicals, mould, or simply age. If the colour of your weed looks strange to you, be wary of consuming it. 

The colour of good quality buds should be deep green with orange or red hairs. You can also find weed strains that have a purple or blue tint to them. 

Brittle to touch or overly wet 

As mentioned before, when you buy low-quality weed, the buds will feel dry or brittle to touch and crumble easily.  

Or they will feel overly wet and hard to break apart, which is a perfect environment for mold to grow. When your buds are wet it means that they weren’t adequately cured or dried. 

Bud structure 

Good nugs should be dense, hard, and look more rounded or triangular.  Bad nugs are poorly shaped, loose, and have no real structure whatsoever.  

While the structure of the weed doesn’t have anything to do with the chemical components, it tells you more about how well looked after the plants were by the cultivators. 

Poor growing conditions and unsuitable lighting can lead to poor weed structure. 

Final thoughts 

Discerning high-quality weed doesn’t have to be hard. Even most novice cannabis smokers are generallly able to distinguish good buds from the bad. 

But it’s still important to not underestimate the potentially bad health effects you can experience from smoking poor quality weed. 

So be sure to examine the weed before you buy – smell it, inspect it and squeeze it. it’ll make it much harder for unscrupulous dealer to rip you off.

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