The Real Difference Between Low, Mid, And Top Shelf Weed (Fully Explained)

It doesn’t matter if you’ve smoked cannabis for years or if you want to try it for the first time, buying weed can be difficult.

When it comes to finding and buying the best bud, there is a wide range of things you have to take into consideration.

The Real Difference Between Low, Mid, And Top Shelf Weed (Fully Explained)

For starters, you have to find a reliable seller. Then, you have to try and find the best type of weed to smoke. This can be the hard part. Generally, marijuana dispensaries sell cannabis products in one of three different categories.

Those categories are low, mid, and top-shelf. These categories are designed to reflect the overall quality of each product.

However, if you don’t understand each category, and know how to spot each one, you can’t guarantee high quality.

Today, we’re here to help! In this post, we’re going to tell the differences between low, mid, and top-shelf weed.

If you want to buy weed with confidence, keep reading!

Why Is Weed Split Into Low, Mid, And Top-Shelf Categories?

Cannabis is split into different categories to give a reflection of quality. By splitting weed into different categories, buyers can walk into a dispensary and buy with more confidence.

While low, mid, and top-shelf are the most commonly used names for these categories, there are others used too.

For example, top-shelf cannabis products are also referred to as artisanal and craft cannabis. Meanwhile, mid-quality weed can be referred to as mid, reg, and Reggie.

On the other hand, low-quality weed is often called dirt weed, bad Reggie, or bottom shelf.

If you buy a top-shelf weed, you can expect it to be the very best. If you buy a low-range weed, you can expect a poor flower.

As you can probably tell, mid-range weed is the middling ground. Mid-range weed is usually pretty good.

Are The Categories Always Reliable?

Unfortunately, these three categories aren’t always reliable. While most dispensaries are trustworthy, you should never just trust labels. 

Not every dispensary operates in good faith. Some don’t even possess the necessary information needed to make the right distinctions.

This is where things can get tricky because you need to understand the differences between each type of weed if you’re going to make the right purchase. 

In most instances, labels like top-shelf, mid, and low are simply sales tools used to sell products quickly. Therefore, you need to know as much as possible before making a purchase.

How Can You Tell The Difference Between Low, Mid, And Top Shelf Weed?

So, how can we tell the difference between the three different types of weed? The best way to identify the differences between each type of weed is to fully understand each one.

Luckily for you, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about each type of weed shortly. For now though, we’re going to quickly run through some of the main differences between low, mid, and top-shelf weed.

The main differences between these three types of weed are smell, look, feel, taste, and effects. 

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One of the easiest ways to identify good from bad weed is the smell. Usually, top-shelf and mid-range weed strains will have a strong and pleasant aroma that smells like the dominant flavor. 

On the other hand, low weed will have a typically skunky smell and only a faint scent of sweet aromas. More often than not, you’ll notice this strong smell before the flavor of the strain.


Mid-grade and top-shelf weed strains usually have a much more pleasant appearance too. In particular, top-shelf weed is famous for its vibrant appearance and big nugs.

The buds of top-shelf and mid-weed usually have a rich coat of trichomes.

Generally, mid-weed isn’t too far away from top-shelf weed when it comes to appearance. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for low weed.

Low weed usually has an almost dirty appearance, little color, and no trichome coat.


The very best buds almost always have a sticky resin touch. They usually have fluffy buds that have orange hairs over them too. If a flower doesn’t have either of these things, it’s probably fair to assume that it’s a low-quality bud.

Bearing this in mind, you should always look for a bud that has fluffy leaves, a sticky feel, and plenty of color.


Sometimes, the best way to get a sense of how good a strain of marijuana is is to give it a try. More often than not, the taste of low-grade weed will fall well below par. 

Low-grade weed will have a nonexistent and sometimes nasty flavor, while mid and top-shelf weed will have a strong and delicious flavor. Good marijuana should taste like its description states. If it doesn’t, it isn’t up to standard.


The same can be said about effects. While the effects of low weed can be fast-acting, they aren’t usually as strong as a mid or top-shelf weed. The very best cannabis will offer a strong, quick, and more importantly clean stoned feeling.

You’ll be left feeling relaxed, energized, and euphoric, without feeling sickness, dizziness, or discomfort.

Does The Price Make A Difference?

It’s also worth noting that low, mid, and top-shelf marijuana products can be distinguished by price when bought from a reliable dispensary.

If you have a good relationship with your local dispensary and you trust the products they sell, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to tell the difference between each type of weed based on their price.

Typically, low weed is the cheapest variety of weed on the market. Next, mid-weed usually has a price that sits somewhere between low and top-shelf weed.

Finally, top-shelf weed is almost always more expensive than the other two categories of weed.

How To Identify Low, Mid, And Top-Shelf Weed

Arguably the best way to tell the difference between low, mid, and top-shelf types of weed is to understand each type. Therefore, we’re now going to tell you more about each one. 

This will help you better understand the differences between low, mid, and top-shelf buds. We’ll start with top-shelf weed.

Top-Shelf Weed

When people refer to top-shelf weed, they are talking about the best of the best. Top-shelf weed is the nicest type of weed you can smoke. Top-shelf weed is even used in medicine. 

More often than not, top-shelf weed has been engineered through science to be as dope as possible.

Top-shelf weed will usually have a THC level of at least 25%, strong and enjoyable flavors, a sticky texture, sweet aromas, and a smooth feel.

Its appearance will depend on the strain, but top-shelf weed typically has a more vibrant, luscious, and richer appearance.

Top-shelf weed will hit you hard and quickly, leaving you feeling relaxed, calm, and goofy.

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Mid-Grade Weed

Mid-Grade weed typically has a THC level of at least 17%. Its taste will change depending on the type of strain you buy, but it should taste exactly like the main flavor described.

More often than not, that flavor is sweet and fruity. A good mid-grade weed will be leafy, bright green, and hairy. You can also expect luscious fibers and a richer aroma.

Compared to top-shelf weed, mid-grade weed has a more mellow buzz.

You’ll feel a head rush but it won’t be as strong as a top-shelf weed.

Low-Grade Weed

Low-grade weed is about as bad and as cheap as it gets. Ideally, you will only have to smoke low-grade weed if you can’t afford something better at the time. With a bit of luck, you won’t have to buy this type of weed very often.

Most stoners avoid this type of weed at all costs because it has an overpowering unpleasant flavor, a nasty aroma, and a dull appearance.

Low-grade weed normally only has a THC level of 12 to 15%. The effects are quick but they are only relatively mild, so some stoners might not even feel high after smoking it.

Generally, low-grade weed has a skunky and harsh flavor, little to no color, and a very faint sweet smell.

Final Thoughts

Now you’ve made your way through this post, you should know all the differences between low, mid, and top-shelf weed.

In this post, we’ve looked at each type of weed independently and looked at the biggest differences between each one.

Now you have all this information at your disposal, you should be able to identify the best weed a dispensary has to offer.

Therefore, you shouldn’t have to smoke a bad joint again in your life!

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Is It Called Top-Shelf Weed?

The very best types of weed are called top-shelf weeds simply because they sit on the top shelf. It is a tradition in most stores and bars to keep the best products on the top shelf.

Is Mid-Grade Weed Bad?

No, there is absolutely nothing wrong with mid-grade weed. In fact, most mid-grade weed challenges top-shelf weed for the top spot.

Is Green Weed Better Than Brown Weed?

Yes, green weed is better than brown weed. Brown weed has a harsher flavor and is often of lower quality than green weed.

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