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Is your marijuana bad? 5 ways to tell if you’re smoking terrible weed

While many Americans can now buy and grow marijuana legally — choosing from an endlessly varied selection of premium bud — some still have to take it wherever they can find it. Even U.S. government researchers are forced to work with terrible weed.

You don’t want to get ripped off and smoke an inferior product, of course. So how can you tell if your flower isn’t up to snuff (or puff)? Believe it or not, you don’t need a doctorate in botany or chromatography instruments to tell whether your stash is shit. Read on, dear stoner, and learn some simple warning signs.В

1. It’s full of stems and seeds В В

A good rule of thumb in buying weed is that you want weed you can actually, uh, smoke. The stems of cannabis plants — though they may count toward the weight of your gram or eighth — are pretty much useless in that regard, so the less there are, the better. Seeds are even worse; they’ll literally explode when set on fire, potentially blowing out an entire bowl or ruining your joint. Even sellers of low-grade ganja usually won’t sell you stuff with seeds in it, but if you’re continually finding a few in each bag, it’s time to find a new source.

2. Its color, scent, texture and flavor seem off

In this sense, marijuanaВ is like any produce you might buy at the grocery store: You can just tellВ when it’s healthy and ripe for consumption. Good weed has more vibrant color, like a thriving plant. It has a heady, pungent aroma and taste. It’s somewhat springy, dense and coated with sticky, frosty, crystalline trichomes — tiny glands packed with THC, the psychoactive cannabinoid that gets you high. Bad weed, by comparison, looks like some junk you yanked out from underneath your lawnmower. It’s paler or duller in color, sometimes brown or yellowish. It’s often dry or more crumbly, and it lacks a distinctive smell (although sometimesВ it smells like hay orВ grass). It’s also sure to taste terrible. In certain cases, this kind of marijuanaВ may have been “blasted,” or entirely stripped of its cannabinoids to make butane hash oil. Either way, avoid it. В В

3. It doesn’t get you high — or makes you feel ill

Arguably the worst thing about bad pot is that it’s not very potent — which means you have to smoke a ton of it to feel anything like the high you’re after. In that case, you’re liable to get a headache before you’re even halfway stoned. Some users have encountered weed so crummy that it doesn’t seem to work at all. If you wind up with bud that only produces noxious smoke and induces a general nausea or cranial pain, what’s the point? Ditch that garbage and find out where the dank nugs are at — because you deserve better. В В В

4. It’s moldy, rotting or poorly cultivated

As with the food in your pantry or refrigerator, you’ve got to keep an eye out for mold and rot. These can afflict even decent marijuana, and they look like the mold and rot you’re used to finding on bread or cheese — furry discolorations on the surface. Packing this crap in your bong can make you seriously sick,В don’t risk it. Another visual red flag would be larger marijuanaВ leaves attached to your nugs, which indicates a sloppy “trim” when the buds were separated from the plant. Cannabis that gets trimmed by machines (as opposed to carefully trimmed by hand) may have diminished potency, as the trichomes are disturbed, and the leaves themselves don’t offer muchВ of the cannabinoid compounds that people prize in marijuana. В В В

5. It’s not actually marijuana

Almost every stoner of experience you’ll meet has a story about the time they bought weed that turned out to be anything but. It could be anything from crushed oregano to sage to basil to a wad of old, dried-out lettuce balled up in some cling wrap. Catnip is another popular pot substitute. If it doesn’t look like marijuanaВ buds, well, it’s probably not, so keep your wits about you. The best way to avoid this scam is to get your weed from someone you trust — and never, ever that friend who runs a YouTube prank channel. If he really insists it’s the good stuff, then he should have no trouble taking the first hit, right? В В В В

While many Americans can now buy and grow marijuana legally — choosing from an endlessly varied selection of premium bud — some still have to take it wherever they can find it. Even U.S. government researchers are forced to work with terrible…

Are These Cannabis Seeds Good?

Bad Seeds = Confidence Killer

Growing with bad marijuana seeds is particularly harsh on growers of all levels.

This is mostly because it’s tough to pinpoint when the seed itself is the actual problem. Most growers will blame themselves for a problem that shows up in their grow long before they assume it’s the seeds.

The term ‘bad seeds’ usually refers to any type of seed that has a significantly higher likelihood of causing problems in a grow. I’ll cover the most common reasons for bad seeds in this tutorial!

These cannabis seeds were germinated between two wet pieces of paper towel!

Beat-up Seeds

These are pot seeds you might get from a friend, or maybe you have them stashed somewhere and forgot how you got them. In either case, if the shell of the seed looks beat-up, it may not germinate as well or quickly as seeds that were stored in good conditions.

Old Seeds

Seeds are a little nugget of genetic material than can hopefully grow into a plant. And like all other genetic material, it doesn’t last forever! Although seeds can be viable for quite years and years after they’re first produced, the chances of them successfully germinating goes down over time (and old seeds also tend to take a lot longer to germinate than fresh ones). The resulting seedlings are also more likely to be slow growing. But sometimes they sprout like they were born yesterday!

Check out the picture below. We sprouted all the plants at the same time. The tub on the right has seeds that were planted within a week of receiving them in the mail. The tub on the left has a very popular strain with award-winning genetics… but the seeds were more than 6 years old from when we first bought them. Even though they were all put into the tank at the same time and the new seeds grew like crazy, the seeds on the left got outpaced by algae – only one sprouted and though its roots keep growing and growing the actual never got any bigger than two round leaves even after a month!

Pale or Flimsy Seeds

When I first started growing I was told that good cannabis seeds needed to be very hard with dark tiger striping. If you could crush it between your fingers, it was a bad seed, or so I was told. This has not been my experience at all!

Did you know that the “stripes” on cannabis seeds are actually part of a protective coating? The “pale” seeds in this photo are actually just regular seeds with the coating rubbed off!

Over the years, some of my very best plants came from flimsy, light brown seeds that very likely would have been easy to crush between my fingers.

So I’m a big believer in the fact that if you put the seed in the ground and a fast-growing healthy seedling comes out of it, it was a viable seed! Don’t toss a seed you are really interested in just because it’s a little pale; give it a chance (I’m talking more about tan seeds, it’s very unlikely a yellow seed will sprout)!

Note: Although the hardiness of the seed was likely important in the wild, cannabis growers have been breeding plants for generations to make good buds, not seeds! We growers strive to provide an ideal germination environment that lets almost any seed germinate successfully. As a result, we haven’t been breeding for seed hardness. Just like a teacup poodle hasn’t been bred to be strong, cannabis seeds haven’t been bred to be strong. They have other qualities we love 🙂

Bag Seeds

Bag seeds you randomly find in your buds aren’t supposed to be there, so that means that the genetics are a toss-up. Even if the seeds started with good parents, there’s no telling how high or low the quality will be. Unfortunately, the only way to find out is to grow it… Some growers win the genetic lottery, but many others lose out.

If you talk to breeders, you’ll learn that when you breed two “star” strains together you don’t always get what you’d expect. It seems like every one of the seedlings (or at least most of them) should be capture the best qualities of both their parents.

However, that’s not how genetics works most of the time. Without intensive breeding and backcrossing, when you mix two random plants you often end up with only a fraction of the seedlings capturing the best of both parents.

Bag seeds are a wildcard! You never know what you’ll end up with!

So depending on how the seed was originally made, bagseed often has a lot of variety. Even if the buds you got were an incredible quality, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the seeds will produce buds like that. If you’ve ever gotten involved with breeding or growing other types of specialized plants like roses, hops or even apples, you’ll know that seeds rarely breed “true” to the parents, and cannabis isn’t any different.

That being said, sometimes bagseed is all you have, and lots of growers get lucky!

Hermaphrodite or Male Plants

If a cannabis seed was produced with a male doing the pollinating, it means that about half of the resulting seeds will end up being male (which you don’t want, because only female flowers turn into bud). In that case, you want to determine the gender of your young plants as soon as you can so you can toss all the male ones before they start making pollen sacs.

If growing with seeds that were produced without a male plant around, the seeds sometimes end up being hermaphrodites, which means they grow both male pollen sacs and female flowers (again, something you don’t want).

One of the best ways to ensure all your plants end up being female is to start with feminized cannabis seeds from a trustworthy breeder.

Sometimes It’s Random!

Even if you’re starting with the best, most fresh seed stock, occasionally you’ll get an individual seed or plant that just doesn’t grow as well or quickly as the others, or maybe you’ll get a super awesome seedlings that just starts kicking butts and taking names from its first moment.

Natural variation is totally normal! It’s always a good idea to sprout at least a few more seeds than you need in case you happen to run into a runt, or some other expected problem! If all your plants are healthy and growing fast except one, you can blame the seed!

Are These Cannabis Seeds Good? Bad Seeds = Confidence Killer Growing with bad marijuana seeds is particularly harsh on growers of all levels. This is mostly because it’s tough to