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Weed slang: the difference between dank, mids, and ditch weed

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  1. Dank weed
  2. Mids
  3. Ditch weed
  4. What is kind bud?
  5. Factors that affect weed quality

Consider for a moment the difference between a cheap bottle of wine from the local convenience store and a pricey selection from an upscale Italian restaurant’s reserve list. While both are classified as wine, the grape quality, grow climate, and post-harvest techniques all distinguish the finest varietals from wines of lesser quality.

The same principles can be applied to cannabis plant quality, too. As medical and adult-use cannabis legalization continues to take root across North America, the difference between dank bud and ditch weed has never been clearer than it is today. Over the decades, people have used a variety of slang terms to classify weed. Like all slang terms, they vary by region. What is called reggie by some, may be seen as schwag to others. While one person may be looking for dank, another may be asking for top-shelf. But in the end, they’re usually looking for the same thing: the best marijuana on the market.

Weed quality is relative to what’s currently available on the market and the location of that market. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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Overall, the quality and potency of weed have dramatically increased since the 1960s and 1970s. What was once considered dank a decade ago would likely be relegated to mids today. Something that is considered to be mids in California might be coveted as top-shelf in a state where cannabis is illegal.

In this article, we’ll break down the main categories of weed to help you distinguish between schwag or top-shelf herb and learn the most popular slang terms in the process.

Dank weed

(AKA top-shelf, loud, chronic, kind, headies, piff)

Dank, fire, dang good. Whatever you wish to call it, this is the type of weed that you’ll find on the top shelves of dispensaries. In this most premium category, you’ll find a diverse cast of products with strains that vary in effects, flavors, and aromas. In legal states, top-shelf weed usually comes at a top-shelf price. An eighth of dank can cost upwards of $60 in some adult-use markets. Ultimately, the price will vary on a number of factors, such as the dispensary location, cultivator, and product availability. Think of top-shelf bud as craft beer, carefully curated to offer unique aromas and flavors. In most adult-use markets, top-shelf weed tends to have a focus on higher THC levels.

In most adult-use markets, top-shelf weed tends to have a focus on higher THC levels. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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Top-shelf, high-quality nugs can range from bright green to a darker green with streaks of purple, often heavily blanketed with sugary trichomes and vibrant hairs that boast a fiery orange or red hue. Most dank buds come in the form of dense, vibrant, frosty nugs. The trichomes should sparkle when the surface is struck with light.

Taste and aroma

Similar to the appearance, the taste and aroma of dank will also depend on the strain’s terpene profile. One quick sniff of top-shelf bud will pry open a world of aroma that is louder and tastier than milder mids could ever evoke. Taste will also be determined by the strain type and the presence of certain terpenes. If the abundance of trichomes doesn’t convince you of the dankness of a particular strain, a complex, well-balanced aroma and flavor can indicate high-quality flowers.


With top-shelf cannabis products, high potency should be expected. THC levels for the particular product you select will depend on the strain and grower. You can find lab analysis results on the packaging of products sold in most adult-use and medical markets. In general, top-shelf flower in recreational markets will have high THC levels — anywhere from 25% to 30%. But psychoactive potency isn’t necessary for consideration as top-shelf as is the case with hemp products. On the medical market, for instance, high-CBD strains derived from hemp plants (such as perennial favorite Charlotte’s Web) are also seen as top-shelf selections.

(AKA beasters)

More closely related to dank than schwag weed, mids are, as the term denotes, middle-of-the-road in quality for marijuana plants. Although legalization has caused an influx of high-quality weed to flood legal markets, prices for top-shelf bud can be prohibitive. This has made mids an enticing option for those living in legal states, as it offers a decent bang for your buck. While some dispensaries classify mids as lower-potency strains, this could end up being a bargain for consumers who prefer something lower in THC and higher in other cannabinoids.


Cannabis labeled as mids will usually have more airy buds compared with the densely packed, trichome-coated flower that is sold at top-shelf prices. But most mids should still have a noticeable amount of frosty trichomes sprinkled throughout the bud. Compared with top-shelf, mids tend to be less vibrantly green in color with fewer orange hairs sprinkled throughout the flower. Mids rarely contain seeds and have been trimmed to remove most or all stems. In certain locations, mids can pass as high-quality nugs.

Taste and aroma

Mids have a smaller concentration of trichomes, which contain the terpenes that make cannabis aromatic and flavorful. As a result, the aroma and flavor of mids will be less intense than those of their top-shelf counterparts.


Depending on the location, mids will boast THC contents ranging anywhere from 10% to 16%, or sometimes higher in legal states. The price of mids will also vary on where they’re being sold.

Ditch weed

(AKA regs, reggie, schwag, dirt weed, brick weed)

When someone tells you that you’re smoking ditch weed, they probably didn’t intend that remark as a compliment. Ditch, also known as schwag, is a term for low-grade cannabis that can be rather unpleasant.


Ditch weed will typically take on a brownish appearance with hints of dark green, and is often mixed with byproducts of the plant such as stems and leaves. In some cases, ditch weed is so dried out that it simply crumbles upon contact.

Taste and aroma

One whiff or look should be all it takes to figure out whether you have ditch weed. This grade of marijuana has an earthy, dirt-like smell that translates into a harsh and pungent taste upon combustion. Some might find the flavor bearable, but ditch weed lacks the nuanced flavor that top-shelf strains have to offer.

Ditch weed has an earthy, dirt-like smell that translates into a harsh and pungent taste upon combustion. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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Ditch weed is uncommon in legal markets. As a result, the potency and effects produced by it are difficult to quantify. It stands to reason that cannabis grown in sub-optimal conditions is likely to result in lower potency and less desirable effects than mid-grade and top-shelf cannabis.

What is kind bud?

Sandwiched in the gray area between mids and dank is a type of flower known as kind bud. Correctly spelled “kine,” from the Hawaiian word for “excellent,” this type of bud is above average but doesn’t score quite as high as dank. With kine bud, the cannabinoid profile can be either high in CBD or THC depending on the strain, so potency isn’t a distinguishing factor. You can identify kine bud by stacking it up against the factors used to measure mids or dank, with some slight modifications. For example, kine bud might be more potent than mids but less so than dank. You also might observe more trichomes on a kine bud than on a mids, but fewer trichomes than would be on a typical top-shelf flower.

Factors that affect weed quality

Cultivation environment

High-quality cannabis is typically cultivated in optimized environments where growers have greater control over every aspect of the cultivation and curing process. Strains are carefully selected and the cannabis plants are often grown with the finest cultivation supplies, such as living soil and organic nutrients. In order to maintain a natural shape and keep the trichome-coated bud intact, most top-shelf marijuana is carefully hand-trimmed, but even machine-trimmed marijuana can still classify as dank.

Schwag weed is typically grown in a harsh environment, causing the buds to form early without the glittery trichomes commonly found on the surface of dank or mid flower.


Curing is an important part of the cultivation process that, if done improperly, can turn top-shelf potential into mids. Mids will sometimes have a grassy or harsh taste due to improper curing. Aside from the lack of aromatic enjoyment, additional signs of poorly cured weed include dampness to the bud and stems that don’t easily snap.

In most cases, mids will still contain a passable terpene profile that gives off a pleasant aroma that is more akin to dank than ditch, but the difference in pungency between mids and top-shelf should be discernible.

If bud is harvested too early, it could be relegated to the mids or even schwag category, as a premature harvest can result in reduced potency and a less enjoyable taste.


When we’re talking about top-shelf bud sold on legal adult-use markets, the packaging is oftentimes as enticing as the nug itself. High-quality flower should have THC and other cannabinoids listed on the product label and should come with a certificate of analysis from a third-party testing lab to ensure there are no pesticides, mold, or other contaminants on the bud.

Schwag, on the other hand, is sometimes compressed and transported in a brick that contains a mixture of small, dry nugs, shake, and lots of seeds and stems — hence the well-deserved nickname “brick weed.” When improperly handled and cured, even the best nugs can contain high levels of the cannabinoid, cannabinol (CBN), which may offer sedative qualities.

Although this sleepy cannabinoid might not be preferable to the recreational user seeking a buzz, CBN has been studied for the potential ability to treat insomnia,inflammation, pain, and bacteria, and may even act as an appetite booster. In its molecular form, CBN might sound appealing to some, but keep in mind that low-grade weed could also be contaminated with pesticides, mildew, mold, or insects due to having an adverse growing environment.

Weed slang: the difference between dank, mids, and ditch weed Copy article link to clipboard. Link copied to clipboard. Contents Dank weed Mids Ditch weed What is

Don’t Make These 7 Flowering Stage Goofs

During the flowering stage, your marijuana is focusing completely on making buds.

While they’re making buds, plants often need a little extra TLC as they are not putting as much effort into keeping themselves healthy.

Unfortunately, this happens to be the exact time that most beginning indoor growers tend to get comfortable and start forgetting about their plants.

As an indoor marijuana gardener, your actions during the flowering stage have a huge impact on your yields and the final potency of your buds!

What makes a plant start flowering? How do you get cannabis to make big buds during the flowering stage? Here are 7 simple yet effective things to pay attention to so your Flowering Stage goes great and your plants produce a huge, picture-perfect harvest every time!
1.) Watch out for male plants pollinating your female plants

Keep an eye out for unexpected male plants or hermies (hermaphrodites; girls that grow “male” parts).

Hermies generally come in two forms. Either it looks like you’re growing male pollen sacs among your flowers, or you’ll see the signature hermie “yellow banana.”

Basically look for balls/pollen sacs or little yellow bananas growing among all your beautiful buds and white hairs. Definitely remove them on sight to prevent uncontrolled pollination, and consider removing the whole plant if possible to prevent seedy buds!

Male cannabis plants grow pollen sacs instead of buds, which open and spill pollen. Pollen can pollinate your buds and cause them to grow seeds

After going through a lot of stress in the flowering period, some female plants will turn “hermie” and grow male pollen sacs, which can also pollinate your buds

Here are hermie “bananas” growing among the beautiful buds as a result of long-term heat stress 🙁

In botanical terms, a banana is a “stamen”. These produce pollen and are normally found inside a pollen sac. A hermie is a female plant growing male parts, and you can get anything from fully formed pollen sacks down to a single stamen like the one below.

Even a single pollen sac or banana can ruin your whole crop by spreading pollen and “seeding” all the females.

All pollinated female buds may stop fattening up and instead focus on making seeds. As a result, you get seedy buds and low yields.

Some growers purposely induce plants to turn into hermaphrodites as part of the process of producing feminized seeds (seeds which grow only female plants). Pollen gathered from a hermaphrodite female plant produces all-female (feminized) seeds when used to pollinate buds, though if you do it the wrong way your seeds are more likely to be hermaphrodites themselves. Learn more about feminized seeds.

Learn more about male plants and hermies:
2.) Make sure indoor grow lights don’t get too hot/too close

During the first month of the flowering stage, many cannabis plants go through a dramatic upward growth known as “the stretch“. However, for some strains, the plants may continue to grow taller for much of its flowering period, even after the initial flowering stretch.

Example of the flowering stretch in action – your plant may double in size after the switch to 12/12!

Some strains stretch more than others, but breeders should be able to tell you what to expect so you can plan for it. This is why it can be helpful to know what strain you’re growing!

Indoors, it’s common for plants to be inching closer and closer towards grow lights without the grower realizing it. Always keep a barrier of space between your plants and your lights, and make sure you switch your plants to the flowering stage before they’re half the final desired size!

Learn how far to keep your grow light from your plant:
3.) Monitor pH & Don’t Overdose with Nutrients

More than half of the marijuana plant problems submitted to end up being the result of too high or too low pH in the root zone.

In hydroponics, pH management is absolutely crucial to your success. Even when growing in soil, pH has a big effect. Some growers get may lucky, but if you’re having unexplainable problems, I highly recommend at least checking the pH and eliminating that as a possible cause.

PH problems can cause wrinkly leaves, curling, and what appears to be a wide variety of nutrient deficiencies. Plants can’t absorb nutrients when the pH is off at the roots, so symptoms can look like almost anything!

Problems from pH manifest in a variety of ways, often looking like nutrient deficiencies

Although the symptoms can look different, many deficiencies can be traced back to incorrect pH

Spots on leaves are another common symptom for pH problems!

Many growers see burnt edges or tips and instantly think nutrient burn, but it could actually be a deficiency caused by pH imbalance. If more than just the tips are burnt it’s likely a sign of pH problems.

Optimum pH varies a bit from strain to strain, and between different growing mediums, but a good rule of thumb is maintain a rootzone pH of 5.5-6.5 in hydroponics, and 6.0-7.0 when growing marijuana in soil.

If you’ve been monitoring pH from the beginning, continue to monitor pH. Don’t get too comfortable and get lax when you’re in the most important phase of your plants life!

If you haven’t been monitoring pH and suddenly get a bunch of unexpected problems, check this before you take any other drastic measures!

A pH kit is cheap, and easy to use! Learn how!

When I first got a pH kit, I was amazed at how much stronger and resistant to problems my plants were once they started getting the optimum pH at their roots. This allows plants to easily absorb all the nutrients they need, so they can focus on making buds.

As a result, you may need lower nutrient levels overall, which often results in smoother, tastier buds.

Learn what you need to know about pH right here (it’s simpler than you probably think!):

Don’t Overdose Plant with Nutrients

Going overboard on nutrients (even organic nutrients if they’re highly concentrated enough) can ruin your yields and makes buds smell or taste bad! This is terrible to do late in the flowering stage!

Never raise nutrient levels unless you’ve ruled out a pH problem and then do so slowly.

It’s normal for your oldest, lower leaves to start yellowing and falling as harvest approaches, this doesn’t mean add more nutrients.

Plants need less and less nutrients as they approach harvest and it’s natural for leaves to start yellowing, especially older leaves towards the bottom of the plant.
4.) Stay on Top of Plant Smells

The secret to staying stealthy when growing cannabis is “Don’t tell, don’t sell, don’t smell.” Basically don’t tell anyone, and don’t let anyone see or smell your garden.

Some cannabis plants are a little stinky in the vegetative stage, but most plants produce a very strong smell in the flowering stage.

It’s important to take the time to get supplies to prevent odors from escaping the grow space!

Learn How to Control Smells in the Grow Room
5.) Keep Humidity Below 50% to Prevent Mold

In the flowering stage, humidity should be kept below 50% to prevent mold.

When humidity gets too high in a grow room, the plant pulls excess water in through the leaves which increases your chances for mold, especially in fat buds.

Sometimes you may think your buds are totally fine, only to find a gross moldy mess in the middle, like the bud pictured to the left.

Never smoke moldy buds!

Some growers will dramatically drop the humidity of the grow room during the last few weeks of flowering using a dehumidifier.

This actually stresses your plant in just the right way, and may increase resin production.

Learn how to use humidity to make your plant grow better:
6.) Flush Plants Before Harvest

I recommend flushing plants with plain, pH’ed water for some time before harvest to leach out any extra nutrients. In soil, it’s common to flush for about 2 weeks. In coco it’s good to flush for about 1 week, and in hydro you only need to flush plants for a few days.

A plain-water flush may improve the overall taste and smell of your buds, especially if you’ve gone a bit overboard with nutrients.

Hint: A secret grower tip is to add a bit of regular blackstrap molasses (a teaspoon or two per gallon) to your water during the last week or two of flowering as a cheap yet effective alternative to those expensive supplements that improve bud flavor. This works for soil and coco coir, but not hydroponic setups.

How long does the Flowering Stage last? When do I harvest?

The time spent in flowering depends heavily on your strain, as well as the effects you’d like to produce. View a complete marijuana timeline.

This bud is in week 3 of the flowering stage

Most strains need 2-3 months in the flowering stage before they’re ready to harvest, though some strains are a bit faster and some strains, such as some sativa and hazes, can need as long as 4 months of flowering before they’re ready (though there are tricks to get them to mature faster).

Some growers prefer to harvest on the earlier side for more of a “buzzy” high while other growers harvest later for more of a “couchlock” high.

  • Harvesting too early causes low yields, less-potent buds and a ‘racing’ high
  • Harvesting very late produces buds that tend to cause sleepiness

When you harvest at the right time, you get the best yields. Plus you get the effects you want!

The best thing to remember with harvesting is to be patient. A lot of people get too eager to harvest buds, and they end up taking their plants down too early. Wait for a few signs before you take the leap:

  • At least 50-70% of the hairs (pistils) on the buds should have darkened and started curling in
  • Use a jewelers loupe, handheld microscope, or (my personal favorite) a USB microscope to look at your buds. You know you’re ready for harvest when most of the clear, glassy trichomes (little mushroom looking growths) have turned milky white colored (looks like plastic to me), with a few amber/yellow trichomes. When they’re ready, they’ll also start to lean over from the weight of the bulbs on top.

Here’s a complete guide to knowing exactly when to harvest your marijuana:

For the geeks like me… here’s an article explaining the science behind picking the right harvest time to achieve optimum cannabinoid levels:
7.) Trim & Cure Your Newly Harvested Buds

Once the plants are cut down, you can trim the leaves off of them and hang them up to dry. Although it may seem like everything is over, the next few days are actually incredibly important to your bud quality. Avoiding common problems in this phase will yield you big dividends!

DID YOU KNOW? You can cut all the buds off a plant and put it back under 24/0 light to get her to revert back to the vegetative stage. One reason you might do this is if the plant has been a huge producer and you want to take clones. After a month or two, the plant will have fully recovered and started growing vegetatively. At this point, clones can be taken. You can even put a re-vegetative (commonly called ‘re-vegged’) plant back into the flowering stage and harvest again though this is usually inefficient compared to just starting a new plant from seed.

It is possible to take clones during the flowering stage, but these clones are tougher to get to take root, and for some reason clones taken from flowering plants tend to display odd growth at first. Some growers take clones from the flowering stage on purpose, with a technique known as “monster cropping“, to take advantage of this odd growth to produce bushy monsters.

There are many ways to dry your buds, such as hanging them from a string, leaving them spread out on netting, or even just laying them out on cardboard.

Curing Your Buds

Once your buds are dry, leave them in an airtight jar, and place the jar in a dark place.

You can open the jar every so often and jostle the buds a bit; this is also a good time to make sure you don’t see/smell mold and buds still feel dry. It’s a good idea to do this more often at first (once a day in the beginning) and slowly do it less (once every 3-5 days). After about 2-3 weeks of this process, you’ll have great herb! Cure even longer, up to 6 months, for continued improvement in flavor/smell.

I hope you enjoyed this article, I wish I had known this stuff when I first started growing!

About the Author: Nebula Haze

I believe adults should have safe access to marijuana, and I’m dedicated to showing you how easy it can be to grow your own at home!

Learn 7 common problems to avoid so you can improve your results in the flowering stage!