High-quality cannabis is typically cultivated in optimized environments where growers have greater control over every aspect of the cultivation and curing process. Strains are carefully selected and the cannabis plants are often grown with the finest cultivation supplies, such as living soil and organic nutrients. In order to maintain a natural shape and keep the trichome-coated bud intact, most top-shelf weed is carefully hand-trimmed, but even machine-trimmed weed can still classify as dank.
The same principles can be applied to cannabis quality, too. As medical and adult-use cannabis legalization continues to take root across North America, the difference between dank bud and ditch weed has never been more clear than it is today. Over the decades, people have used a variety of slang terms to classify weed. Like all slang terms, they vary by region. What is called reggie by some, may be seen as schawg to others. While one person may be looking for dank, another may be asking for top-shelf. But in the end, they’re usually looking for the same thing — the best on the market.
- Appearance: Top-shelf flower will usually be carefully hand-trimmed, coated with trichomes and hairs, and sticky to the touch. Decent mids will also have trichomes and hairs, but to a lesser extent than top-shelf, or dank, while schwag should be identifiable by its brownish color and crumbly nature — especially if it’s accompanied by seeds and stems.
- Flavor and Aroma: Top-shelf cannabis strains tend to offer a complex and well-balanced aroma, as cultivators are heavily focused on maximizing terpene profiles to achieve a certain smell or flavor. A quick whiff or hit should be all it takes to figure out whether the weed is dank or mids. If you’re shopping in a legal market, look for cannabis products that provide lab analysis and list terpene profiles along with levels of THC and other cannabinoids.
- Trichomes: Look at the surface of the bud to see if there are trichomes coated on the surface, a clear indicator that you’re puffing on some piff. A frosty, dank nug will be covered in these sparkly crystals, while mids will have them more spread out. In terms of trichomes, think of dank as the blizzard and mids as a flurry. Regs will typically not have much by way of trichomes and should be easy to separate from more exquisite nugs.
In most cases, mids will still contain a passable terpene profile that gives off a pleasant aroma that is more akin to dank than regs, but the difference in pungency between mids and top-shelf should be discernable.
Top-shelf, high-quality nugs can range from bright green to a darker green with streaks of purple, often heavily blanketed with sugary trichomes and vibrant hairs that boast a fiery orange or red hue. Most kind bud comes in the form of dense, vibrant, frosty nugs. The trichomes should sparkle when the surface is struck with light.
Curing is an important part of the cultivation process that, if done improperly, can turn top-shelf potential into mids. Mids will sometimes have a grassy or harsh taste due to improper curing. Aside from the lack of aromatic enjoyment, additional signs of poorly cured weed include dampness to the bud and stems that don’t easily snap.
Mids have a smaller concentration of trichomes, which contain the terpenes that make cannabis aromatic and flavorful. As a result, the aroma and flavor of mids will be less intense than those of their top-shelf counterparts.
With top-shelf weed, potency should be expected. THC levels for the particular product you select will depend on the strain and grower. You can find lab analysis results on the packaging of products sold in most adult-use and medical markets. In general, top-shelf flower in recreational markets will have high THC levels — anywhere from 25% to 35%. But THC potency isn’t necessary for consideration as top-shelf. On the medical market, for instance, high-CBD strains such as Charlotte’s Web are also seen as top-shelf selections.
Similar to the appearance, the taste and aroma of dank will also depend on the strain’s terpene profile. One quick sniff of top-shelf bud will pry open a world of aroma that is louder and tastier than milder mids could ever evoke. Taste will also be determined by the strain type and the presence of certain terpenes. If the abundance of trichomes doesn’t convince you of the dankness of a particular strain, a complex, well-balanced aroma and flavor can indicate a high-quality nug.
The Difference Between Dank, Mids, and Reggie Weed Consider for a moment the difference between a cheap bottle of wine from the local convenience store and a pricey selection from an upscale
Due to harsh environmental elements and improper handling, curing, and storage, bottom-shelf bud often tests high in cannabinol (CBN), a result of THC deterioration; when THC oxidizes, it transforms into CBN. Cannabis high in CBN causes marked drowsiness and sedation, not much elevation. By keeping your low-quality nugs in an airtight receptacle, you can slow down the degenerative process a bit. While high concentrations of CBN may be a sign your dirt weed was mishandled before it reached you, there are some benefits to this underappreciated, low-psychoactive cannabinoid, like pain relief and appetite stimulation. CBN also reduces inflammation and combats insomnia.
The effects of craft cannabis are diverse, spiritual, medicinal, and quite potent. A trained nose can take one sniff and identify whether a sticky, dense bud is high in myrcene, pinene, or limonene. Tests and aromas indicating a robust and well-rounded terpene profile hint to a master cultivator producing bud that’s balanced, complex, and most enjoyable when consumed. Premium cannabis can soar in price, but it doesn’t have to be spendy. Prices vary by dispensary, grower, and city. Finding a seed is rare, so if you do, keep it. Grow it when you’re legally able.
Know how to identify each tier of weed.
Know how to identify each tier of weed.
Craft cannabis, artisanal, top shelf, piff, fire, chronic, headies, kind, loud are some of the terms you may hear when talking about the diggity dank. Boasting a vibrant spectrum of color (deep hues of red, purple, green, blue, pink and orange), high-quality chronic features prominent cannabinoid and terpene profiles, pronounced translucent trichomes, complex aromas, powerful flavors and attention to detail in every aspect—from cultivation, to curing, to trimming.
Related: Weed Porn: Cannabis Up-Close
Artisanal growers use house-crafted compost teas, living soil, organic nutrients, and zero chemicals and employ techniques like glass-curing and hand-trimming with an emphasis on quality over quantity. Even quality outdoor sungrown can qualify as piff when cultivated by a knowledgeable grower. In fact, certain outdoor sungrown cannabis can be so good, machine-trimmed nugs may still qualify as fire. Hand-trimmed headies will be easy on the eyes, showcasing intact structure and geometry, letting you know that handlers have exercised extreme care and love out of reverence for the plant. Attention to detail and careful trimming ensures you’re receiving product with as many trichomes as possible, since that’s where the goodness lives. Preserve these nugs in a cannabis humidor, or a kief box and grind them using a kief catcher. Accumulated pollen is kief, a precursor to rosin and hash.
Without access to legal, regulated retail cannabis, you may have very little control over what you consume, no idea about pesticides, cannabinoid percentages, and terpene profiles, and little insight on what defines quality. To assist with this, we assembled this guide to help you decipher the difference between low-, mid-, and high-quality bud.
For those not living in weed-friendly states, it can be exciting to get your hands on any kind of cannabis, regardless of the quality. Grateful, you puff and praise the universe for sending such a thoughtful gift your way. Oftentimes, ganja comes crumpled up in cigarette box cellophane or bundled in a sandwich baggie. A delivery service may also bring clear plastic cubes decorated with cartoon stickers and made-up strain names. When you’re lucky, though, a friend gifts you precious flower from an underground grow.
Know how to identify each tier of weed.