If you’ve ever smoked marijuana, chances are you’ve encountered at least one low-quality strain. This is to be expected since you’ll never come across two marijuana harvests that are identical. The quality of bud depends on various factors, including the condition of the grow, the general strain quality, and the care provided to the plant during and after the harvest.
A couple of scientific studies have cast the spotlight firmly on an unsavory aspect of the industry. According to researchers, the marijuana strains they tested contained eerily similar levels of THC and CBD. This isn’t the biggest issue, however. The breeders marketed these strains as being entirely different from one another.
A 2015 study by Sawler et al., published in PLOS ONE, analyzed 81 marijuana and 43 hemp samples. The team discovered that the sativa and indica split rarely matched the genetic makeup of the strains. Overall, 35% of the strains tested by researchers had a greater number of genetic similarities to strains with different names than ones with similar names!
A study by Mudge, Murch, and Brown, published in Scientific Reports in August 2018, analyzed 33 strains from five British Columbia growers. On this occasion, the THC and CBD content were virtually the same in 24 of the strains. What’s troubling is that these strains were marketed with different levels of both cannabinoids.
This tells us a couple of things. First, we shouldn’t take the stated cannabinoid content at face value. Mudge pointed out that it was almost impossible to determine the precise level of cannabinoids in marijuana strains, and believes that breeders should clearly state that the displayed cannabinoid levels are estimates.
Secondly, we should also realize by now that cannabis is more than just THC and CBD. Sure, sellers are only obligated to disclose the content of the two most prevalent cannabinoids, but the effects you feel could depend as much on CBN, CBC, or another one of the 100+ cannabinoids in weed.
You might think that low-quality weed will carry a low price tag. Wrong! Some disreputable suppliers will try to pass off their garbage by selling it at the kind of price associated with medium or even high-quality marijuana. Fortunately, it isn’t difficult to spot low-quality weed before parting with your cash. Here are a few things to watch out for.
Decent quality marijuana buds will have an easily identifiable smell which indicates a high level of terpenes.
In contrast, low-quality weed either smells of hay or has no discernible scent. This is a clear sign that the cannabis was poorly grown and/or cured. When looking for a sativa strain, check for sharp citrus notes. For an indica strain, check for a coffee or chocolate scent.
The type of strain dictates the structure. Sativa buds are typically light and fluffy whereas indica buds are dense and tight. In poorly grown indicas, you will notice visible stems and incomplete buds which make them look more like sativas.
While cannabis strains have different colors, they should be some shade of green. It is important to note that some high-quality buds have tinges of pink, blue, or even purple, so don’t discount any marijuana containing those colors. However, if you notice that a bud’s color is majority tan, red, brown or yellowish, steer clear because it clearly came from an unhealthy plant. You should also avoid any buds that have a ‘bleached white’ color because they have ‘light burn.’
High-quality cannabis is loaded with ripe trichomes, and you can distinguish the trichome density pretty easily. Buds that have a ‘frosty’ appearance are covered in trichomes, and they sparkle like tiny crystals. Low-quality cannabis will have little or no trichome coverage.
You should also check for trichome ‘ripeness,’ but you will need a magnifying glass or a similar tool. With this device, look at the ‘heads’ of the trichomes. If they are white, you have a high-quality strain. If the heads are clear, the plant was harvested too early, and if they are entirely amber, the plant was harvested too late.
General Low-Quality Marijuana Strain Information
There is still a plethora of mass-produced junk on the market, which is also known as ‘Schwag,’ ‘Dirt Weed’ or ‘Ditch Weed.’ Not only is it produced in bulk, but the weed is also grown in poor conditions. You can easily spot this kind of rubbish by following the tips above, and it is imperative that you do. This type of low-grade marijuana is filled with pesticides and heavy metals and is about as harmful as cigarettes!
The main reason for the poor quality is because the plant is cured and dried improperly, and it is much older than its high-grade counterpart. Aged marijuana is high in CBN, which is a low-quality breakdown of THC. If your goal is to get high, you won’t succeed with this kind of cannabis!
If all of the above isn’t bad enough, low-grade weed will certainly lead to several coughing fits. Here is a quick overview of low-quality marijuana:
- Contains seeds.
- Crumbles easily because it is so dry.
- Has a brown or reddish color with little or no green.
- Poorly trimmed and manicured.
- Not dense.
- Contains little in the way of trichomes.
- Is incredibly harsh to smoke, causes coughing fits and a pain in the chest.
- Has a weak or musty smell.
- Contains residual pesticides, mold, mildew, and possibly heavy metals.
Now that you know what to look out for in low-quality marijuana strains, let’s check out five of the worst.
Please remember that this is our personal opinion. As has been pointed out by our readers, the cannabinoid receptors and body chemistry of each individual is unique. There will be strains on this list that certain readers won’t believe because they had a positive experience. As one reader has helpfully stated, all reviews are anecdotal rather than being scientific.
As a result, you can’t allow a single bad review, or even several, to determine whether or not the strain is right for you. If, on the other hand, EVERY review you read of a specific strain is negative, it should give you pause for thought.
It is also possible that we received strains on this list that were simply low quality. As the studies above suggest, there is even a possibility that the strains we tried do NOT contain the indica-sativa or THC-CBD ratios as advertised. Outside of paying for third-party lab reports (or requesting them from the seller or breeder), there isn’t much one can do bar growing the weed yourself, or seeking out a reputable seller.
One final point. The advances in growing technology, coupled with the increased legality of marijuana mean that the days of outright bad weed are coming to a close. As long as the herb remains illegal in certain locations; however, there will always be a chance of buying schwag. The risk increases in places where weed is illegal, but can occasionally happen in a legal state or country.
Therefore, one could make the argument that there isn’t a marijuana strain NOT worth trying. A person’s dislike of a strain likely boils down to aroma, effects, flavor, personal experience, and even reputation.
1 – Pablo’s Gold (A Golden Marijuana Strain or Iron Pyrites?)
Pablo’s Gold is said to be a strongly sativa-dominant (70%) hybrid that’s a cross of Pablo’s Cheese and Colombian Gold. Its THC level is typically between 17% and 20%. Created by Breeder Choice Organization, you will do well to find this strain anywhere outside of the American Northwest.
It offers a potent cerebral high and begins with a boost of energy and an uplifted feeling. However, you soon realize that Pablo’s Gold is not a strain you use when seeking to get things done. It is often used to treat conditions such as insomnia, mood swings, arthritis, and glaucoma.
It doesn’t taste bad at all. The creamy, skunky, sweet flavor is relatively pleasant, and the cheesy, skunky scent, with hints of pine and citrus, isn’t off-putting either. The main issue is that Pablo’s Gold is almost TOO effective when it comes to sending you to sleep. It really is fool’s gold if you are taken in by the initial energy surge. I found it hard to keep my eyes open soon after using it. That said, you can’t fault Pablo’s Gold if you have chronic insomnia.
2 – Mango Pina (The Forgotten Marijuana Strain)
Mango Pina was another 90s favorite, and the mango cannabis strain has been around since the 1960s. Today, you’ll find that such strains are usually crossed with KC33 and that’s what you’ll find when you look for Mango marijuana.
However, the Mango Pina strain from the old days tasted pretty good but was weak as hell. At best, you’ll have a somewhat relaxed state of mind, but you will frankly never feel as if it was worth the effort.
If you want a marijuana strain that tastes like mangoes, try Mango Kush instead. It is a cross of Mango and Hindu Kush but doesn’t provide the heavy sedative high associated with its parents. Instead, you’ll feel an enjoyable high that sends you into a state of bliss. Mango Kush is a hell of a lot stronger than Mango Pina, tastes just as good, and is much easier to find.
3 – Blue Widow (The Uneventful Marijuana Strain)
Blue Widow is said to be a balanced hybrid and is a cross of White Widow and Blueberry. This strain tastes nice, and its citrus and blueberry flavors make it a good option for use in edibles. It has become a popular medical marijuana strain and is used to treat conditions such as chronic pain, backaches, and muscle cramps.
There is nothing specifically wrong with Blue Widow, but it is not a strain you should bother with if seeking a potent high. Its THC content is said to be between 12% and 17%, but it feels even less strong. Experienced users probably won’t get a great deal out of Blue Widow. The taste means you might persevere with it for a while, but eventually, you’ll get fed up using it and long for a more potent strain such as Girl Scout Cookies.
4 – Madman OG (The Marijuana Strain that Causes the Jitters)
Madman OG is marketed as a balanced hybrid and is a cross of OG Kush and LA Confidential. It has a THC content ranging from 16% to 24%, and it is even more potent than the THC level suggests. It was bred by Ocean Grown Genetics who may have fallen into the trap of believing that OG genetics are a panacea.
It doesn’t take much Madman OG to deliver a high that overwhelms the user. If you use just a small amount, you may find that it helps alleviate those negative thoughts that bring you down. However, when you overdo it, anxiety can quickly creep up. You may also experience a severe headache if you’re not used to the potency of the high. In many ways, the clue is in the name!
5 – Top 44 (The Sedative Marijuana Strain)
One would expect a lot more from Top 44 since it was created by the breeders at Nirvana Seeds. It is probably harsh to place this strain on a ‘worst of’ list, but we are taking into account the level of disappointment users will feel afterward. It is a strong, indica-dominant hybrid that was initially developed in the Netherlands.
Top 44 offers a powerful skunky flavor with a fruity and spicy aftertaste. Initially, you can expect to feel euphoric, and the body high is supposed to kick in and make you feel couch-locked. With a THC content of 8-15%, Top 44 won’t do much for experienced smokers, and the best you can hope for is a solution to your insomnia. Overall, the long-awaited intense body buzz doesn’t really materialize, and you wonder why you bothered.
Final Thoughts on Low-Quality Marijuana Strains
Whether you like it or not, you have to pay decent money if you want the kind of marijuana that makes you love life. However, you should never make a purchasing decision based on price alone, just in case the seller is trying to pull a fast one.
Take your time to inspect the weed to ensure it passes the color, trichomes, smell, and structure tests, along with any other criteria you have established. While many readers will disagree with the above list, we feel as if those strains either disappointed or failed to deliver on what they promised. When in doubt about the quality of a marijuana strain, you can’t beat the old-fashioned smoke test!