Cannabis Science

Is Brown Weed Bad?

brown weed and two blunts

As you probably already know, weed is usually green and dank. However, you may come across brown weed. Often, it comes in the shape of a block known as brick weed. Brick weed can also be black, but it’s pretty easy to distinguish from regular weed. Should you be using brown weed of any kind? Is brown weed bad? Here’s what we know. 

Photo: Unsplash

Why is My Weed Brown?

Before we get into whether or not brown weed is bad, let’s talk about why it’s brown in the first place. 

One of the reasons why your weed is brown is because it’s low quality. According to Royal Seed Queens, low quality buds appear brown, dark green or pale and are usually dull looking. Brick weed is an example of weed that is considered low quality. 

Royal Seed Queens says brick weed is prepared by sundryng cannabis branches. Since they’re often packed together and there is moisture, they start to rot. In addition to that, many trichomes are lost in the process, leaving behind seeds, stems and leaves. 

Amsterdam Marijuana Seed Bank gave a couple of other reasons why your weed plant may be brown. They said it may be due to:

  • Problems with nutrition
  • Changes in pH
  • Fungi
  • Pests
  • Burns from light
  • Age
  • Over watering

Is Brown Weed Old?

Not necessarily.

According to Healthline, you can tell weed is old mostly by it’s smell. Healthline says, “Weed that’s past its prime will smell different or lose its aroma entirely.”

In addition to that, you can tell weed is old by the fact that it crumbles easily or feels spongey.

Old weed may also have mold. You can tell by the smell and small fuzzy spots on it.

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Wondering how long weed takes to get “old”? Well Healthline says dried marijuana starts to lose potency and the smell after 6 months to a year. However, you should always check your weed for mold.

Is Brown Weed Bad For You?

If you’ve been offered brown weed you probably wondered if you should fire up your bong or toss it. 

Well, brown weed is usually characterized as bad. According to Mic, “bad weed” is sometimes brown or pale yellow. However, it’s not just the color that you should look out for. “Bad weed” can have the following characteristics:

  • Dry
  • More crumbly (compared to “good weed”)
  • May lack a distinctive smell or smells like hay/grass
  • Awful taste

If you try to consume pot like that, you’ll likely need a lot of it to get high. Brown weed is usually not very potent. As a matter of fact, some people don’t even get high. Mic says, “Some users have encountered weed so crummy that it doesn’t seem to work at all.” If that didn’t sound awful enough, smoking a lot of brown weed can lead to headaches or nausea. 

Brick weed, which is usually brown (or black) as said before, is thought to be low quality and not ideal either. Royal Queen Seeds specifically referred to South American brick weed. The article stated that when brick weed is cut into, you’ll notice that there are lots of seeds and stems.

We previously examined whether or not you can smoke weed stems. While you technically can, you probably won’t want to. Smoking stems can cause headaches, sore throat, and coughing. In addition to that, it doesn’t make you high. Seeds, on the other hand, Mic says, “they’ll literally explode when set on fire, potentially blowing out an entire bowl or ruining your joint.”

In addition to the stems and seeds, brick weed may smell like ammonia, which is not a pleasant smell. Naturally it doesn’t taste good either. Brick weed can also be harsh on your throat and lungs. 

What Does Good Weed Look Like?

Using low-quality weed is usually more trouble than it’s worth. But how do you know if your weed is premium quality? There are several ways you can tell whether weed is good quality or not. You have to examine appearance, smell, touch, and feel. In addition, when you use the weed you’ll usually be able to distinguish the difference between a good-quality weed and a low-quality weed. 

Let’s examine how to identify premium weed and medium quality weed.  

 According to Royal Queen Seeds, premium weed has a(n):

  • Frosty coating of trichomes
  • Perfectly manicured appearance
  • Deep orange pistils
  • Extremely sticky touch
  • Pungent and skunky smell
  • Rich terpene profiles
  • Wide range of effects eg potent psychoactive effects 

If you’re wondering where to find premium buds, you can try your local dispensary. 

In addition to premium weed, you may want to opt for medium quality weed. Royal Queen Seeds say to look out for:

  • Shiny appearance due to trichomes
  • Lighter green color
  • Orange pistils that protrude
  • Pleasant and noticeable scent 
  • Compact
  • Sticky when squeezed
  • The ability to taste terpenes
  • Stronger effects than brick weed 

If you grow your weed, you can achieve this quality. According to Royal Queen Seeds, growers accomplish this by paying attention to nutrients, watering schedules, and environmental variables. 


So, is brown weed bad? Pretty much. We don’t recommend using it; opt for better quality weed instead. Using brown weed can be a scary and unpleasant experience. If you’re unsure about the quality of weed, not only can you ask the dispensary you buy it from, but you can look at the weed. Good quality weed isn’t brown, for starters. It should be green, have visible orange pistils, and be dank, among other characteristics.


About Trevann

Trevann is Stoner Rotation’s Jamaica-based lead writer for the Science section of our cannabis blog. She graduated with honors receiving her Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular Biology from the University of West Indies, Mona. For the last three years, she has covered some of the biggest questions around cannabis and health underpinned with research from supporting studies, medical journals and scholarly articles. Got something on your mind? You can reach her at [email protected].