Let’s be honest: Sometimes grading scales can be annoying. Humans are obsessed with grades. Sometimes we even try to quantify the unquantifiable.
We use grading scales in education, athletics, and foods, just to name a few. However, we look at these grading systems as existing for our benefit. Once they are in place, we recognize that they have a place of convenience. You could argue that our world would have lower product quality, weaker safety standards, and poor quality control without them. These systems keep us accountable. So why should standards in the cannabis industry be any different?
As boundaries are pushed, the scales change over time, too. Systems expand and evolve into better versions of what they once were. If there is a ceiling of quality for online weed dispensaries in Canada, where is it? If there isn’t a ceiling, what is the best way to continue adapting our measurements?
Let’s talk about Super Quad Weed, also known as AAAA-grade weed. Does it get much better than AAAA quality? If so, where are the limits? And what exactly does this mean for the future of cannabis?
Grading Makes the Industry Stronger
There is an abundant amount of history and knowledge behind the cannabis industry. This deep understanding of cannabis was at society’s fringes for many years before gaining legalization and legitimization. This is an ongoing process still occurring today. But as time goes on and laws continue to change along with perception, the industry progresses.
Today there are seminars, certifications, and various types of courses available for cannabis industry professionals. The idea behind this is to limit the misinformation and inaccuracies given on different cannabis products. This in turn gives any online weed dispensary in Canada (or brick-and-mortar shop) the tools to provide consistent, quality descriptions and recommendations. This point is only reached once the professionals at these establishments grasp cannabis genetics, culture, and appreciation.
Industry experience isn’t always dictated by how long someone has been around. This is relevant to what they can provide in knowledge as well as experience. Cannabis sommeliers and others with relevant industry certifications are developing clear links between gene pools and morphologies to better serve the grading systems used at dispensaries.
How Do Online Weed Dispensaries In Canada Grade Weed?
If price was the only rubric used to determine weed quality, then great cannabis would be at a price point out of reach for many of us. Thankfully this is not the case. Brick-and-mortar shops and online weed dispensaries in Canada each have their own ways of marketing and describing the quality of the cannabis products they sell.
Although there is not a single, globally accepted cannabis grading system, there are a few in circulation. Some dispensaries use their own system, while others piggyback on whatever the industry standard seems to be. In Canada, the most commonly used standard goes from A to AAAA. It’s important to remember that, as of today, there are no requirements to use this or any other particular grading system in or outside of Canada.
How objective are these standards? The best answer: it depends. In British Columbia and other parts of Western Canada, cannabis users have been blessed with high-quality weed for some time now. Consequently, this has created high expectations and standards.
The idea that there is AAAA and even AAAA+ graded weed at the top of the quality pyramid suggests there is no room for improvement. Quad and Super Quad Weed are the modern gold standards in cannabis quality, thanks to the years of expectations consumers have placed on the cannabis industry.
What Defines Super Quad Weed?
This widely used A to AAAA+ cannabis grading system has allowed any online weed dispensary in Canada to aid customers in their search for quality weed. The idea is to avoid disappointment and wasted money when searching for particular characteristics.
Weed with the grade of A has minor flaws but is still consumable. AA would be the next step up. And AAA would tick even more boxes. None of these grades distinguishes the weed as bad or non-consumable. The idea is to rate the quality. The more boxes that are ticked, the higher the grade.
AAAA and AAAA+ represent the absolute best cannabis available. These are called super quads, high quads, or true quads. AAAA has been around for a while, while AAAA+ is a more modern characterization. Let’s look at the properties of AAAA and AAAA+ cannabis using common criteria used to determine the grades.
The appearance of the weed is important, as this can distinguish the strain without any lab tests. For example, sativas are tall plants with long, thin leaves. In comparing this to the shorter, wider, and bushier plants of indicas strains, it is obvious which is which. The strain of weed is important, as it will give different effects to the user. Choose your strain of weed carefully depending on whether you want a cerebral or more body-focused high.
Coloration is another key physical indicator of quality. Looking at how sappy, hairy, or how full of vibrant trichomes weed is can also tell a lot about the plant. Like appearance, color can be assessed without even consuming the plant. Quality buds will shine crystalline and vibrant green as opposed to being devoid of crystals and stale-looking in coloration.
Smell and taste tests are best done by a person. The pungent and pleasing odors sometime carry over into the flavor profiles. The problem with this test is that it is sometimes very subjective. Someone may prefer fruity flavors over more earthy tones. Everyone’s palate for food and cannabis differs. This is where the importance of lab tests comes into play, particularly for terpenes.
Lab Test Results
Terpenes are an integral part of the quad experience. Terpenes are the chemical compounds responsible for the characteristic aromas and flavor profiles. All AAAA-grade weed is cured in a manner that ensures the terpenes are retained in good form.
Terpene content can be tested in the lab. Percentages are shown of which cannabis strain contains which terpenes and in what quantity. Some terpenes are responsible for an earthy taste, while others might be more citrus-like. There is a wide array of aromas and tastes due to their content and play off of each other, and other chemical compounds in the plant.
Terpenes aren’t the only compounds tested in the lab. Cannabinoids like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are also commonly tested for. This will tell the percentages, which can help an online weed dispensary market a strain as CBD-dominant, THC-dominant, or a hybrid.
Sometimes a burn test or ash test is done. This helps determine the quality of the curing process. Curing is a drying process that helps seal in the cannabinoids and terpenes.
The idea behind this test is that if the ash is whiter, it shows a high quality. There is little conclusive truth to this, however. The test actually comes from cigar connoisseurs, and cannabis industry experts argue that the crop is different and may not yield the same meaning.
The Future of Cannabis Grades
User effects may also be used to determine quality, but again, we are getting more into subjective territory. Each person is unique in how they experience cannabis. There are other factors to consider with human consumption such as environment, frame of mind, physical attributes, what was consumed prior to use, and more.
To keep things as objective as possible, cannabis industry professionals seek a grading system that relies on concrete fact and evidence. In the future, perhaps the ceiling of quality will be pushed even higher. Maybe we will see AAAAA or higher replace super quad weed.
For now, though,super quad is as good as it gets. As time goes on and the industry continues to progress, so too will expectations and quality. It is an exciting future for cannabis.