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What Makes Marijuana Dank?

Last Updated: November 22, 2022By Jason Levin

Dank marijuana

If you are new to smoking marijuana, you’ve no doubt smoked your fair share of bad weed. Poor quality marijuana is often called “schwag.” If you smoked marijuana pre-legalization, you’ve probably smoked it once or twice. Luckily, most people have the chance to eventually upgrade and quickly learn what good weed actually is. Some may even experience something that could be considered dank. 

Unfortunately, without a true dank weed definition, plenty of unwitting stoners are still smoking bad weed. While it’s probably not the crappy ditch weed that our parents, and, in some cases, we grew up smoking, it’s still not good. Even in this wonderful age of legalization, no one is immune from being sold bad buds. The difference is, this time, instead of smoking what obviously is bad quality schwag filled with seeds and stems, you are probably being tricked into buying something marketed as dank bud. Unfortunately, in reality, it’s just…not. 

It’s not your fault. When you’re buying marijuana, you don’t have time to do the proper research. Plus, those salespeople can be really convincing. They have entire marketing teams devoted to convincing you to buy their schwag. Unfortunately, buyer’s remorse is real, and you don’t want it to happen to you, especially when it comes to buying weed. 

When you visit a dispensary, the friendly smiling budtender is there to make a sale. You want to believe that they are selling you the best of the best, but that is not their job. That doesn’t mean there aren’t trustworthy budtenders that want you to have the best experience. It does mean they are not the norm, and you should continue to support the ones that do. It’s important to understand what you are buying so you can avoid buying something you won’t enjoy. 

In other words, you need to understand what is dank weed and what is straight schwag before you locate your ID and walk through the door. 

What is dank weed? 

Let’s start with the word. Is dank a marijuana Word?  Not necessarily. Technically. dank means “disagreeably damp, often musty and cold.” So, what does that have to do with marijuana? 

Dank in the marijuana sense refers to really sticky, moist buds that fill up your car with their delightful skunky aroma on your drive home from the dispensary. The fact that it’s called ‘dank’ probably has to do with how non-marijuana users described it. Instead of taking it as a bad thing (because it’s not), early adopters laughed it off and embraced the term. Now, we have dank weed. 

Oh yeah, that is totally dank.”

Dank is a combination of aroma and effect. It’s something experienced both internally (you feel it) and externally (they notice it). Dank weed is the type of marijuana experience that’s considered top-notch. For most stoners, it’s what you’re looking for. 

What does dank marijuana smell like?

The most reliable way to tell whether or not what you’re being sold is dank is the smell. High-quality pot has a very distinctive smell, which can be characterized as strong. Keep in mind, different strains have different aromas. Some smell citrusy, like Super Lemon Haze. Others have a more pungent skunky smell like Super Skunk, and some even smell more like gasoline, like Sour Diesel. What they all have in common is that they all smell very strong. 

Now for some consumers, you can’t smell before you buy. Cannabis comes pre-packaged, and it can be hard to smell anything through those glass jars. However, if you smell anything – especially through its packaging, that is a good indicator of dank bud.    

Why does dank weed tend to stink up anything in its vicinity without being smoked? This is because of all of the terpenes contained in the buds. Terpenes are the neat little chemical compounds that make up the wonderful cannabis plant. This isn’t a plant growing science lesson, but it is a lesson on how to spot dank bud, so let’s talk about botany, shall we? 

Terpenes are the aromatic oils secreted by the glands of the cannabis plant. These oils aren’t just native to cannabis plants, either. Terpenes occur naturally in many common plants and fruits. You smell them in basil and mangoes, which help to give them their distinctive flavors and aromas. Terpenes do the same for the cannabis plant. 

Humans can detect terpenes, and many affect us. What makes lemons smell citrusy? That would be the terpene limonene. It also gives strains like Super Lemon Haze their fresh citrus aroma. That same terpene also works great at relieving stress, fighting depression, and keeping back anxiety. 

Other terpenes can provide similar effects. Myrcene induces the well-known feeling of “couch lock” common in many of the more potent indicas such as Gorilla Glue #4. Strains containing myrcene tend to have a more musky, earthy taste and aroma, with just a kick of spice. When people refer to that dank weed taste, they are often referring to strains that contain myrcene. Okay, got that? Science lesson over. 

What does dank weed look like?

A lot of newbies think that all dank weed should be a bright neon green or a vibrant purple while avoiding the yellows. This is actually not the case. While it is true that most of the dankest strains are neon green, quality strains can also be golden or orange in color. What you really need to be on the lookout for are the trichomes. Do you remember the first time you smoked really dank weed? If you paid attention to the appearance of the buds before smoking them, you might have noticed that they looked like they had been dipped in sugar, as though the weed itself was wearing bling. These little crystals are called “trichomes.”  

The trichomes are very important because they contain the most THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which is what gets you high. They usually appear on both the leaves and the buds of the plant. If that weren’t enough reason to look for them, consider this. Trichomes contain more than THC; they also contain up to hundreds of other cannabinoids such as CBD, CBN, and THCA. Trichomes are the most potent and, therefore, the most valuable part of the cannabis plant. They are what is used to make extracts like dabs and dank vape cartridges.

Trichomes are so valuable that you can separate them from your bud and add them to less dank bud as needed. All you need is a weed grinder that has a “kief catcher” on the bottom. This catcher is located beneath the area for catching the ground-up weed.  As you chop up your herb, tiny crystals are sifted through a separate screen. The golden substance that you collect is called kief, and it can be used for anything from topping off your bowl, to making pressed kief “hash” or even in cooking.

Trichomes are also an important defense mechanism for the cannabis plant. The little crystals are not actually crystals at all, but mushroom-shaped protrusions that cover the surface of the leaves and buds. They taste terrible to predators like insects and animals, making them all the more likely to leave the flowers alone, allowing them to grow in peace. They also protect from environmental dangers like strong winds and rains. In other words, a plant that has plenty of trichomes is not just more likely to survive, but also more likely to delight some lucky human. 

Now that we know what dank bud possibly looks like, here is what it won’t look like. First of all, dank bud will not have discoloring or spots that look lighter than others. This condition is caused by “bleaching” or overexposure to light. Remember that strains come in many different colors and shades, what I’m talking about is the inconsistencies in the color scheme of your weed. Did that iridescent acid green suddenly become more of a mottled greenish-yellow? Probably should steer clear. 

Sometimes lighter colors can indicate that the weed you are looking at is stale, but not always, as this could also be a characteristic of the strain. Many popular gold-colored strains include Golden Pineapple, Gold Dust, and Golden Ticket. There are many colors in the cannabis rainbow. 

That covers the trichomes and color portion of the visual dank weed definition, but you should also consider the size of the buds. Typically, bigger is better. The larger buds most likely came from the colas or the biggest buds on the plant. These generally are the most potent buds, which is helpful when you can’t go by smell or see up close. Of course, there is nothing wrong with the smaller buds, known colloquially as “popcorn nugs.” Still, the bigger buds will more often than not carry a larger quantity of denser trichomes, thus giving you more bang for your buck.  


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What does dank bud feel like? 

So, you may be thinking, “dank means ‘wet’. Does that mean my weed should be wet?”

While dank means wet or damp in the English language, and you want your buds to be moist and sticky, you don’t want them to be wet. Having too wet of weed can spell trouble, it basically means your weed may be moldy. 

Most marijuana companies have quality controls that will weed out (pun sort of intended) moldy weed; however, some states are not as strict as others. Plus, if you aren’t using a dispensary, they may not be doing anything to prevent their buds from molding. That’s why it is always a good idea to get a good look at the buds before you buy them, whenever possible. 

On the other hand, you don’t want your weed to be too dry either. This can mean two things: It’s either old and stale, or it was not stored properly after it was dried and cured. Dry weed is less potent, and it does not taste as good. Have you ever eaten a handful of chips from a bag that had been sitting open in your cupboard for months? It’s not very tasty, is it? That is what smoking stale weed feels like. Not only is the taste super harsh, but you will also probably hack your lungs out as well.

It’s easy to buy dry, stale weed. In dispensaries, it’s often the markdown weed. While the price is right, the fact remains – it’s most likely older weed that the shop either had trouble pushing or just had a surplus of. When it comes to what you put in your body, cheaper is not always better. Think of it like buying the day-old donuts at the bakery. Cheap though they are, the taste is not what you can expect from the fresher donuts. 

Just like donuts, dried cannabis flower depreciates its potency over time. Eventually, it will reach the point that you’re smoking plants and nothing more. When purchasing dispensary weed, pay attention to the harvest date. It’s almost a “best by” indicator. You can still use it, but it is best used as shake in joints. It definitely does not qualify as dank weed. 

What you should be after is a happy medium between wet and dry. Your weed should not crumble to your touch, nor should you have to towel dry your hands after touching it. Dank bud is sticky and moist to the touch. 

How Fast Should You Feel Dank Weed?

There is no hard and fast rule about how quickly dank weed should begin affecting you. Some strains kick in immediately, while other strains, sometimes referred to as “creeper” bud, can take a bit longer to make you feel high. Generally, when smoking or dry vaping, you should feel the effects of a good strain in minutes.  If it takes longer than that, the marijuana you just bought is probably no good. There are exceptions to this, however. If you have a legendary tolerance, even the most potent strains will not affect you. At that point, you wouldn’t know really dank weed if it loaded itself in your bong and hit you over the head with its awesomeness. 

On that same subject, with the passing of legal weed in many states, lab-tested weed has become the norm, and pot buyers tend to go with the strains that are highest in THC. The dankest buds are not necessarily those that are the highest in THC. A strain that tests at 16% can be more potent than something that tests at 25%. A true dank weed definition is based on more than THC. Don’t get sucked in by the labels – pay attention to the smell and appearance. Go with your instincts. Use your senses. This is, after all, one of the reasons why we humans have them. 

What are the Dankest Strains?

This is a subjective question since everyone has their own opinions. You could be talking about the dankest strains of all time or the past generation. However, there are a few strains that commonly make people’s list:


  • Grandaddy Purple
  • Bubba Kush
  • Master Kush
  • Northern Lights
  • Any of the “purple indicas” like Purple Urkle, Obama Kush, and Plushberry 


  • The classic Hazes such as Purple Haze, Super Lemon Haze, Super Silver Haze, and of course, Haze.
  • Sour Diesel
  • Maui Wowie
  • Strawberry Cough.


  •  OG Kush
  • Mendocino Purps
  • Space Queen
  • Gelato
  • Blue Dream. 

These are just a few options. There are so many dank strains out there that it would be an impossible task to list them all. Although it would be enjoyable to test whether or not they deserve the title of dank weed. 

Which is Danker: Weed Grown Indoors or Outdoors?

Again, this one is all about preference. Some people prefer weed strains that are usually grown indoors (such as Indicas) over those that are typically grown outdoors, (which tend to be Sativas). The reason some are grown indoors, and others are not is because they need to. Some strains are better suited for growing indoors, while others require a sunny outdoor climate. Opting to grow your weed indoors does not make it any more dank than weed that is grown outdoors. 

If you do have a preference between weed grown indoors versus weed grown outdoors, you can tell the difference in their buds. Are you wondering how? Well, cannabis strains that are grown indoors tend to be shorter and stockier, with thicker, more dense buds. On the other hand, cannabis strains grown outdoors tend to be much taller than indoor plants, with buds that are not quite as dense. 

The difference in bud size is due to space. Indoor grown cannabis plants typically have less space to contend with, so they are bred to be short and fat. Outdoor grown cannabis, on the other hand, needs to reach a long way to catch the adequate amount of sunlight. It also does not have restrictions on space, which leads to taller plants with more spread out leaves. At first glance, the difference in the buds will be hard to spot, but it gets easier over time. Remember: short fat blooms come from a grow room, but if the buds long and lanky, you’ve got outdoor danky!

How Much is Dank Marijuana?

If the dankest buds are what you are really after, you should be prepared to pay a little more. There is no set price for dank weed, just like there really isn’t a dank weed definition, but as a rule, really dank weed is going to be a little pricier than mid/ low grade. It has to do with how it’s grown, how fresh it is, and sometimes, the particular strain. Really dank weed may not cost much more to produce, but there is a limited supply. Someone has to smoke the rest of the plant – those buds that aren’t covered in as many trichomes. However, that ‘someone’ does not have to be you. 

There is no set price on dank weed, but on average, the danker strains are $12-15 a gram. If you are the type of person who likes to try out a variety of strains, try buying a lot of smaller quantities, so you get your different options. This method will add up quickly, not to mention smoke up quickly, though. For more economically minded stoners, try to buy an eighth or a quarter of the buds you identify as dank at a time. 

How to Grow Danker Marijuana Buds 

For those of you who are home growers, you have a lot better chance of getting the effects you seek. This is because you are in complete control of the potential dankness of your buds. The most important thing is not to rush! Many new growers make the mistake of succumbing to their impatience and harvesting their buds too soon. 

This, of course, is entirely understandable. Once those plants start flowering, they begin to smell really inviting. It can be challenging to wait for the right time to harvest, but be patient, and it will pay off. On the same note, do not rush the drying/curing process. Rushing the drying process can result in brittle horrible tasting buds, which defeats the purpose of even growing your own. Ideal curing time should be 2-3 weeks, no less than that. Lastly, starting with good genetics is essential. Seeds or clones from a weak parent will not magically produce super dank bud.  Make sure that you are getting quality seeds! No amount of tricks can improve on subpar genetics.

If you start off with good genetics, homegrown weed is exceptionally likely to be dank – even if you don’t have a green thumb. Simply start with an all-in-one growing solution, such as the a Pot for Pot Complete Grow Kit, and you could be enjoying really dank weed in no time. Best of all, you get that sense of accomplishment from smoking something created with your own blood, sweat, and tears. 

Learning how to grow your own marijuana helps you avoid schwag weed and saves you the trouble of deciphering what’s being sold to you. Luckily, with A Pot for Pot, growing the dankest weed has gotten a whole lot easier. 

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