Have you ever gotten a “great deal” on a bag of weed, only to find out it wasn’t quite the bargain you were hoping for? You may have unwittingly gotten your hands on a bag of schwag—a term used to describe low-quality cannabis. Schwag weed is much less potent than top-shelf cannabis and can be the result of improper growing, handling, or storage. While most cannabis users tend to avoid schwag and the people who sell it, this low-grade weed can be useful under certain circumstances. What is schwag weed and what can it be used for? Let’s take a closer look.

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What is schwag?

Low-quality weed goes by many names, including schwag, swag, dirt, brown, brick, and many more. Schwag weed is unlikely to elicit a strong high in a regular cannabis user. On the contrary, smoking it is more likely to produce a weak or nonexistent high, unless you have an extremely low tolerance or you smoke a large quantity. This type of weed also tends to have a less pleasant aroma, taste, and appearance than high-quality cannabis.

How to identify schwag

Once you know how to discern good weed from bad, you’ll be able to identify some of the clear indications of schwag weed before you make your purchase. 

  • Color: There’s a reason low-quality weed is known as brown or dirt. It is recognizable by its distinctive dirt brown hue with green undertones.
  • Compression: Low-quality weed is often transported in vacuum-sealed “bricks” for space efficiency. Vacuum sealing compresses many layers of dried flowers together. If your weed looks like it has been flattened, or it comes compressed in a single mass, it is probably brick weed. 
  • Trichomes: the glittery white coating found on the outside of high-quality buds will be virtually nonexistent with schwag weed. The sticky, resinous trichomes are where cannabis gets its potency, and high-quality weed growers focus on maximizing trichome production and preservation by utilizing favorable genetics, removing male and hermaphrodite flowers in the pre-flowering stage, harvesting at peak potency, and storing buds properly. Dirt weed is usually grown and handled with much less care and consideration, resulting in significantly fewer trichomes in the final product.
  • Seeds and stems: It’s not uncommon for schwag weed to come weighed down with lots of stems and seeds. Stems should be kept out of your bong or joint as they give off a woody and unpleasant smoke that contains very few cannabinoids. Stems are usually trimmed from higher quality buds so you’re not paying for an un-smokable product. Seeds indicate that the female cannabis plant has been fertilized by a male plant. Once pollinated, female buds divert their energy from cannabinoid production to seed growth. The resulting weed has a lower potency. High-quality bud growers avoid pollination by removing the males before they release their pollen. The stems and seeds found in schwag weed take more time to break up and remove before it can be properly smoked. 
  • Texture: When weed is properly cured and stored, it should be mostly dry with a touch of stickiness from the trichomes, and it should spring back slightly when squeezed between two fingers. A good indication of schwag weed is that it is extremely dry and crumbles when handled. This usually means the weed was improperly stored during curing and transport.
  • Aroma: Weak genetics and oxidation from improper storage each contribute to schwag’s light and unimpressive aroma compared to the robust scents of high-grade weed.
  • Mold and Pests: This is a clear indicator of low quality weed and can negatively impact your health. If your weed appears moldy or pest-ridden, don’t buy it and don’t smoke it.

Should I buy Schwag?

Unless your schwag weed is contaminated with mold or other undesirable substances, it is still smokable, although it probably won’t get you as high as the good stuff. Is buying schwag ever worth it? It could be, depending on your circumstances. While schwag has earned itself a bad reputation, it could be perfect for someone who has a particularly low tolerance for THC.  As the legality of recreational cannabis begins to expand, users from all walks of life are trying cannabis, and not all of them want to get completely faded. With the help of genetics, cannabis strains are being bred to contain massive concentrations of THC. Some, like and those who were used to 1970s-era cannabis, may appreciate smoking cannabis with a similar potency to the weed that was used at that time. Financial concerns may be another reason to turn to schwag weed. Because it is often mass-produced and of lower quality, schwag is likely to be priced lower than more potent cannabis. If you’re strapped for cash or you are looking to purchase large quantities at a more affordable price, schwag may be the answer to your needs. Just remember, with significantly less THC, it will require much more product to experience the same effects as a smaller amount of high-quality cannabis. If you have a high tolerance, it may be more economical to purchase the good stuff and try to use it conservatively.

What is schwag used for?

Schwag weed may not be the best for smoking connoisseurs, but it has a number of useful applications.

  • Shareables: Throwing a 420-friendly event and want to provide some communal weed? Most of us can’t afford to supply our finest strains to a house full of stoners. Schwag weed can make an excellent party favor for entertaining. Use it to pre-roll joints and blunts at an affordable price and save your high-end stash for yourself.
  • Edibles: Many cannabis recipes call for a large quantity of flower, and schwag weed can be an excellent substitute for cooking with more expensive strains.
  • Seeds: You can save the seeds and use them to grow your own cannabis! While it may not be the strongest strain out there, it’s a great way to hone your growing skills and learn more about the cannabis growth cycle
  • Tinctures: Decarboxylate your schwag weed and infuse it with a high-proof alcohol or cooking oil to create your own cannabis tinctures.
  • Hash: Whether you use the dry-sift method or you follow our instructions to make bubble hash, you can use schwag weed to create your own cannabis concentrates.