Is it Dirt Weed? Grade Your Cannabis Nugs

Remember the days when any weed was good weed? Nowadays, cannabis connoisseurs are driving cultivators and dispensaries to keep “Mexican dirt weed” off their shelves.

But still, you might not always end up with top-shelf kush and want to find out if you’re puffing on low-grade “dirt weed”.

This guide is for anyone curious about their cannabis quality so you can tell the difference between “mid”, “dirt weed”, and high-quality weed strains.


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Cannabinoid handbook

What is dirt weed?

Dirt weed is a term used to describe low-quality weed, often originating from gritty, dry nugs. Common characteristics of dirt weed include a lack of aroma, a brownish or overly dry appearance, yellow leaves, and low potency. Often, dirt weed comes from poorly grown, harvested, and cured cannabis plants, resulting in a subpar product.

Is dirt weed bad for you?

Low-quality cannabis isn’t just a disappointment in terms of its effects; it can also pose health risks.

Smoking dirt weed could mean ingesting harmful pesticides or fertilizers used during cultivation. In extreme cases, illegally sourced cannabis might be laced with other substances.

Alternatively, high-quality cannabis flower has a rich profile of cannabinoids like THC, CBD, and CBN, as well as terpenes that contribute to its aroma, flavor, and entourage effect.

Pro tip: Download the cannabinoid guide to learn more

In short, you don’t really want to smoke dirt weed.

What does bad weed look like?

Spotting dirt weed is easy for seasoned cannabis consumers, but for it can take a bit of practice to spot.

Dirt weed typically lacks the vibrant green color and rich covering of trichomes—tiny, crystal-like hairs indicative of potent cannabis—that quality cannabis has. It might also crumble easily, indicating over-drying or aging.

Next, we’ll explain the steps to take to grade your weed and decide if it’s worthy of that bong, pipe, or joint.

dirt weed

Steps to determine weed quality

Don’t know if your weed’s any good? Follow these foolproof steps to grade your cannabis and weed out any dirt weed.

  1. Look at your nugs: High-quality nugs are usually dense and covered in trichomes. Use a loupe to get a closer look and check for tiny orange hairs, deep green or purple colors, and generally denser nugs. 
  2. Smell your weed: Good weed should have a strong, pleasant aroma, indicating a rich terpene profile. For example, you may smell hints of lemon, pine, lavender, or basil—this is a sign you don’t have dirt weed. 
  3. Feel the texture: Quality cannabis should be sticky and springy, not dry or brittle.
  4. Try some: If it’s safe, the best test is to try a small amount. Low-quality weed often has a harsh, unpleasant smoke. It will also likely feel less potent.

What to do with low-quality weed

If you end up with dirt weed, and it’s safe, consider making edibles or tinctures. These methods can salvage some of the THC content. If it seems unsafe, dispose of it properly—mix it with coffee grounds or cat litter, and throw it away in a sealed bag.

Where to find good quality cannabis

The best and safest way to ensure you’re getting high-quality cannabis is to buy from licensed dispensaries. Dispensaries in states like California offer a range of medical marijuana and recreational options, with knowledgeable budtenders to guide you.

You can find weed near you with a quick google search or on cannabis marketplaces like Weedmaps

 Look for California cannabis for some of the best quality, or ask for recommendations on top-shelf, higher-quality, or even dank strains. Remember, most dispensaries require you to be 21 years of age or older.

Check out some of our favorite strains!


Q: Can you grow high-quality weed at home?

A: Yes, with the right knowledge about cannabis cultivation, including factors like soil nutrients (like potassium), light, and water, you can grow good-quality weed at home.


Q: Are there specific strains known for high quality?

A: Yes, strains like Sativa, Four Phantoms, and certain Mexican varieties are known for their quality.


Q: How can I stay updated on the best cannabis products?

A: Subscribe to notifications from your favorite dispensaries or follow cannabis-related blogs and social media for updates.

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