top shelf mids low grade weed

When it comes to cannabis culture, ‘mids’ is a universal slang term that refers to the quality of weed or cannabis products. Even though it’s a widely used term, there’s no standard definition for mids weed and the ways people use it depend a lot on individual preferences and availability, as well as the time period. In the end, everyone has their own idea of what mids weed is or isn’t.

We’d like to cover a few angles of quality weed that sometimes get overlooked so you can make the best decisions with your hard-earned money!

What is the Meaning of Mids Weed?

When people refer to mids weed or just ‘mids’, they’re using weed slang to say the quality is ‘mid-grade’. Generally speaking, as access to cannabis has improved over time, the quality of what’s considered mid-grade cannabis has gotten way better.

If we go back 10 or more years, mids weed usually referred to something that wasn’t very appealing but still got you high. It wouldn’t have much smell or flavor and it may have been stale and dry, filled with leaves or seeds, and maybe harsh on the lungs and throat. Even brick weed could be fairly strong and enjoyable compared to dirt weed that barely did anything but make you tired and hungry, or give you a headache. Now that low-grade schwag (also called reggie or bammer) is a lot less common, and the way people use ‘mids’ has changed a lot. Below are pictures of what I’d consider ‘old school’ mids weed.

mids weed

When I first moved to the Pacific Northwest in 2009, I found that almost everything was considered mids if it wasn’t up to par with the best quality available. Things like commercially produced ‘beasters’ from British Columbia could have passed as quality ‘dro’ in Chicago, but on the West Coast, it was cheap mids weed. Even high quality outdoor crops with good flavor and potency were starting to get called mids because they lacked the frosty ‘bag appeal’ of indoor buds. Below are some examples of what I’d consider ‘beasters’ or west coast mid-grade, which often had solid, smokable nugs but weak flavor and an average high.

mids weed cannabis

Just over ten years later, today’s market is flooded with indoor weed that looks better than ever, and connoisseurs are even more particular about what’s considered high grade- and what’s not. Frosty bag appeal has become so common it’s not unusual to see Cookies or Jungle Boys called out as mids, which can be confusing to old timers and newcomers alike.

Let’s explore some qualities of fine weed and sort out why ‘mids’ can have such different meanings to different people!

good vs bad weed

Weed Slang for Determining Good vs Bad Weed

Whether you call it dank, headies, kind bud, fire, loud, gas, exotics, zaza or anything else, needing to know the right slang to get the best weed is mostly a thing of the past. With all the choices out there, it’s more important to know what you’re really looking for and how to recognize it, or you may end up paying extra for brand image and hype without even getting what you really want. Buying weed can be similar to booze and food in the sense that mid-tier options might provide the same (or better) quality at a lesser price.

Oh, before we move on, let’s clear up the words ‘gas’ and ‘loud’. Even though they’re used by a lot of people to mean ‘high-grade’, these two words originally had specific meanings. Loud refers to the way a smell can penetrate through bags and fill up an entire room with its aroma, and ‘gas’ describes weed that has a chemical smell similar to diesel fuel. 

“Dank” Top Shelf Weed

Dispensary pricing depends heavily on THC percentage as well as brand name and strain hype. The picture below shows some top shelf weed that gets a high price in Washington State. Similar strains like Runtz are often chosen for their looks, smell, and flavor.

top shelf weed

top shelf cannabis joint

There’s nothing wrong with enjoying Runtz and Gelato, but it’s not for everyone, and even the biggest fans of exotic strains get tired of them quickly. As someone who prefers a trusty old pair of flip flops over a new pair of designer shoes, I tend to look for something else. Instead of going by THC test results, looks, or even smells, what I look for at the top price points is listed below.

Characteristics of Quality Weed

Texture and feeling

When it comes to the feel of my buds, I look for something spongy, but not too dense, sort of like a Tempur Pedic pillow. I like when buds compress between my fingers without crumbling, and slowly expand to their original shape. If the bud has no squishiness at all, it might be too dry or too dense. If it stays squished together or expands really slowly, then it might be too wet. Dense buds that don't give way at all aren’t always bad, but it might mean that the breeder was more concerned with yield and profit than other qualities, and you should probably be getting a better price.

Keep in mind that buds intended for long term storage may be drier and less spongy, and that’s generally okay if the climate is cool and relatively humid (like a wine cellar). As long as there’s enough resin, the buds should still retain long-term freshness. This type of well-preserved cure won’t have a loud aroma in the jar, but it should explode with fragrance when broken up and may retain its full-bodied flavor even better than ‘loud’ weed (which is constantly losing terpenes into the air).

One thing that’s important to look out for is dense, rock-like nugs that still feel really squishy. If the nugs are heavy but still squish like a sponge, it might indicate excessive use of plant growth regulators.


If you ask me, there’s way too much focus on how frosty buds look without consideration for the quality of trichomes. It’s really common to see frosty looking weed that’s covered in weak, low quality trichomes. These weak trichomes don’t look any different until you get up close, where it’s noticeable that the trichome heads are either underdeveloped or have fallen off. Even though the stalks of the trichome look frosty and nice, they don’t actually have any terpenes or cannabinoids in them. These ‘headless’ trichomes won’t feel as sticky to the touch, and they don’t create ‘resin rings’ the way that better weed does. If bud is really top notch sticky icky, it will stick to itself and even a wall, and you’ll see a brown ring of oil bubbling its way down your joint as it’s being smoked. The stickiest weed is nearly impossible to smoke down to the roach without a proper crutch because it will clog up the mouthpiece or put itself out.

One of the best examples of extreme stickiness I’ve ever seen comes from Sasquatch Farms in Washington State. If you check out this video from the Future Cannabis Project, you’ll see that his jar not only has ‘resin rails’ running down the inside, but the terpenes have actually vaporized off of the weed and stuck to the lid. Now that’s the type of loud even I can’t diss!

Flavor & Aroma

One of the must-have qualities of the world’s best weed is a truly distinguished flavor. When I was buying weed in Washington State during the medical days, it would make my mouth water so much that I couldn’t hit a bong without drooling into the chamber. Even the last hit of a joint would coat your mouth with its flavor, and you’d often be able to taste it for an hour or more. One of the problems with putting ‘loud’ weed on a pedestal is that every whiff that comes out of your jar is flavor that’s being lost into the air. Unless you get the weed super fresh, it might end up losing that tongue-busting flavor over time.

Other than outright power, another aspect of taste that’s overlooked is the layering of flavors. Today's top shelf may have a nice citrus or dessert flavor but often lacks the complexity of connoisseur-grade buds. To really be outstanding, weed can have multiple flavor profiles that alternate across your tongue throughout the experience. Certain notes are more prominent on the inhale, and then give way to other tastes on the exhale, and these flavors can change from toke to toke.

Genetics and effects

The last characteristic of truly fine weed is the most important to me, but it’s definitely become the most overlooked. There’s plenty of sticky weed with a strong aroma and good flavor that just doesn’t have the effects that set it apart from the average top shelf. This is the aspect that’s most subjective to individual preference, and there’s a huge range of potential preferences in what makes a ‘quality’ high. Beyond the nuances of body, mind, and everything in between, there’s some primary considerations that apply to most everyone, including how long the effects last and whether or not there’s any comedown or burn out that follows the effects you’re looking for. 

The most rare trait in modern weed has to do with its ‘ceiling’. How many times can you keep lighting up before the overlapping effects start to subtract from the experience? Weed with a high ceiling will always get you higher and higher without making you feel burned out, or losing its potency as time goes on. When you find weed like this, it’s usually an instance of ‘less is more’, where the effects are refined to be very specific instead of a ‘one size fits all’ approach. For that sort of thing, I turn to landrace strains when I can find them.

Mids - ‘Mid-grade Weed’ 

Now that the market has really changed and consumers have more choices than ever, the type of mids in the first few pictures is less relevant, but shopping for mids is still about getting the most out of your money. At the end of the day, the looks, smells, and flavors cost a lot but don’t get you high.

When I’m looking for something cheap, I usually stay away from stuff that has lots of dense little nugs and try to find something with decent size and structure. The easiest way to take good weed and make it worthless is to handle it poorly or store it in bad conditions. Stuff that’s overly dried breaks up easily and you’ll see a lot of shake. If the shake is mostly leaves that might be okay (since they easily dry and fall off), but when there’s actually bud that’s already broken up, that might be a sign of bad handling. The options below were dense and had plenty of crystals, but they were bone dry and crumbled in my fingers with hardly any smell.

Mid-grade mid weed

I was much more impressed by options which had large intact nugs that weren’t extremely dense, such as the following:

mids weed

mids weed indoor

If you’re lucky enough to have premium quality outdoor products available, you can usually find sticky, flavorful, and powerful products like the one picture below for less than $200 an ounce, and often closer to $100 an ounce. I can tell by looking that it’s got great resin content and unless something went wrong, stuff like this can easily be stronger, tastier, and much cheaper than indoor weed.

Outdoor Nug

Reggie Weed (or Regs weed)

Most people just aren’t going to find classic Reggie weed (or regs) these days. We can’t say we miss the disappointment of dirt weed with stems and seeds, or brick weed that hardly smokes, or the sort of ditch weed that looks like it came from a wild hemp plant. Consider yourself lucky if you never had to see something like this:

Brick Weed

There’s plenty of bunk stuff that you should avoid, though. It can be hard to know what you’re getting from a retail store, and that can make shopping cheap a real hit-or-miss, especially when cheaper brands usually have large-scale farms that can’t control for quality. I recently tried a cheap brand that I used to recommend and found a ton of spider mites lurking on some of the buds.

Outdoor mid weed

Stuff like this can be hard to see, and won’t necessarily stop the weed from getting you high, but the best general advice is to avoid anything that smokes harshly, doesn’t make you feel good, or leaves oily or otherwise strange residue on your fingers or throat. Itchiness or irritation can just come from pollen and kief, but it can also be a sign of nasty additive or chemical usage. 


When it comes to mids weed, you’ll have to make up your own mind on what that really means. For my daily smoke, there’s no point in smoking the strongest top-shelf weed that’s meant to get me high in every way possible. I can spend less than half the money on organically grown products with more complex aroma and flavor than indoor weed, and it will do exactly what I want it to, and nothing more. By doing so, I keep my tolerance lower, and when the day is winding down, I can tap into the pricy stuff and get more out of it. Other people might look to mids for something heavy that just takes an extra toke or two but has the same effect. Don’t forget that if you paid half the price, you can smoke twice without spending a dime more! Don’t be afraid to talk it out with budtenders and friends as the best way to evaluate mids is the old school way- by smoking it!