The quality of your bud depends on many factors, and you cannot predict exactly what you’ll be smoking just by the name of the strain or visual cues. There are plenty of things to look out for when determining the quality of your weed, and lots of terms devoted to describing those classifications. Knowing the different qualities of weed can save you from wasted money and disappointing highs.

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Reggie Weed

If you’re looking for anything better than your first experiences behind your old high school, run fast if you hear the term Reggie when looking for weed.

If you buy Reggie weed, the first thing you might notice is how ugly and dry the bud is. It is often filled with seeds and stems, which are no-gos for smoking. The smell tends to be unpleasant, often lacking hints of marijuana altogether. It’s often described as being hay-like. When you take a puff, you’ll probably be hit by a harsh inhale much worse on your lungs than higher quality weed. The THC content is usually rather low with Reggie weed, making everything you have to suffer through to get your high on barely worth it.

Reggie weed is dry, dusty, and disappointing. It’s usually grown outside with little love or affection given to the plant. It can be useful in a few situations, like a person’s first experience smoking weed. It’s accessible and cheap, making it a likely first strain for many users. With lower THC content, new users are less likely to get ridiculously high and have a bad experience.

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It should be used as a last resort, if used at all, for the seasoned toker.

reggie weed iStock

Mid-Grade Bud

The next step up is a mid-grade bud, which has a much better reputation amongst smokers. Mids means middle-grade weed, making it better than Reggie weed, but not of high enough quality to be considered top shelf. Still, many seasoned smokers choose to buy mid-grade weed, as you can still get great deals and pleasant highs.

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Unlike Reggies, mids should have a decent amount of trichomes present. This is important because these hair-like appendages create the essence of the plant, with unique terpene profiles. While mid-grade bud does not have a super high THC content, it is usually higher than Reggie bud.

Mid-grade marijuana will still provide medicinal and recreational effects users seek, just not as much as a higher quality weed. The bud should smell pleasant and have no seeds or stems. You can gauge the quality you will be getting based on the aroma and appearance of the plant, so be sure to always check when you’re shopping for mid-grade weed.

Mid-grade pot is great for someone who just wants to get high without bothering with the fancier or more expensive options out there. It’s a great affordable choice for the average stoner who does not want to break the bank on a regular basis.

Top-Shelf Weed

Top-shelf weed is where we really get into that “good stuff.” Top-shelf weed is fat, dense and pungent. It’s typically covered in trichomes and very aromatic. The high trumps that of lower quality weeds, as they’re usually rich in trichomes and have powerful terpene profiles.

This bud is typically a vibrant color and sticky to the touch. Depending on the strain and its terpene profiles, the bud can smell a variety of ways, but the bottom line is it should smell strong. And delicious. Aromatic citrus, earth, wood, and other scents are common in top-shelf bud.

Top-shelf weed is also much higher in THC content than its Reggie and mid-grade counterparts. The smoke should come out more gentle than low-quality weed, putting less pressure on the lungs. With higher THC content users can expect to feel the effects of top-shelf weed with smaller amounts. While there is the risk of getting really high, the overall synergy from the different cannabinoids can work to keep you feeling balanced, providing an optimum high.


Interest in exotic strains has picked up over the years with many places having easier access to cannabis.

Exotic strains are known for their strong aromas and tastes, and they tend to come packed with a high THC content and interesting backstories.

Snowcap, for example, is a hybrid exotic strain with Afghani origins, and its THC content reaches up to 22 percent. The strain is extremely hairy and has hints of citrus and menthol. Users love it for its pain relieving properties and uplifting high.

Bubba Kush is another popular exotic strain with a THC content ranging between 15 and 22 percent. This cannabis strain is covered in white trichomes and bursting with resin. It’s indica heavy and best used for a relaxing night in. Bubba Kush has origins in the Hindu Kush mountain range, as the name suggests.

Detail of color bloom of Bubba kush medical marijuana iStock / Michael Nosek

Comparing Prices

A lot of people do well with a mid-grade selection from their local shop. The appearance and smell of the flower should give you an idea of the quality, which can help you filter out the lower-quality choices. Mid-grade is great for those on a budget because you can get decent quality bud at a reasonable price. In most dispensaries, you can get an eighth of good quality, mid-grade bud for $25 or less.

Top-shelf cannabis prices vary greatly. Some can reach up to $70 for an eighth. Most people aren’t willing to throw down that much for just 3.5 grams, though. Top-shelf weed usually falls around the $25-40 range, give or take based on location and quality. Watch out for deals at your favorite shops, as you can easily stock up on some top-shelf pot without going over your budget, and make sure to use Wikileaf to check out prices near you.