Much like wine, coffee, and diamonds, cannabis is graded to ensure product quality. It isn’t merely about the market value of cannabis, but the safety and efficacy of the product. When you buy cannabis online in Canada, you may notice a ranking from A through AAAA+ on the product, representing its grade on the national cannabis grading scale.
A steeper price and higher percentage of THC aren’t necessarily markers of a plant’s value. The grading system considers all the different components of a cultivar, from its flavour, to its appearance, to its smokability.
But it isn’t about comparing one cultivar to another. Rather, the Canadian cannabis grading system rates the quality of a strain against itself. The goal: for a strain to express all potential and desired attributes to the best of its ability.
How a plant was tended will influence the final product’s value. Plants of the exact same strain may be rated differently depending on how the plant was cared for, the flower treated, and the final dried bud produced.
Whether it’s still a bit hazy or crystal clear, or you’re simply curious to learn more, read on to discover what entails quality cannabis.
Why is Grading Essential to Buying Cannabis Online in Canada?
The nationally recognized cannabis grading system in Canada is an A-based grading system ranging from A to AAAA+. With no official title, the system has been given the monikers “Canadian Weed Grading Scale” and “Cannabis Grading System” (CGS).
The CGS allows growers and producers to recognize the prominence of specific characteristics in dried cannabis. This is expressed to consumers with a scale ranging from A, representing the lowest quality consumable cannabis, to AAAA+, the highest-quality product available.
Conceived in the 1980s, the A-based system initially recognized only A–AAA cannabis. However, once cannabis science and breeding took off, things changed dramatically for overall cannabis quality. Growers were able to hone in on and amplify character, effect, and experience-based components resulting in new cultivars.
As a focus on science and care continued to grow, new and improved methods of growing and breeding spawned heartier, more potent buds. A new rank in the CGS became necessary. Thus came the AAAA level, along with the addition of a +/-, broadening the field for better-quality cannabis.
What Does the Scale Look Like?
This is the lowest quality cannabis available for consumption. This bud may contain stalks and seeds. Desirable effects will be weak, whereas detrimental side effects such as dry mouth, cough, and headache may present more prominently. Depending on how the dried flower has been treated, A-rated cannabis may present a larger health risk than higher-rated bud.
Aside from a muted colour and musty odour, A-level cannabis is also often free of trichomes. As such, it’s lower in both cannabinoids and terpenes, chemicals essential to both medicinal and recreational cannabis. When smoked, A-rated cannabis may burn poorly and produce dark ash and smoke.
What was historically considered basic weed is now considered budget. Known colloquially as “Dubs,” AA cannabis comes in varying degrees of quality, ranging from mediocre to decent. While not the most palatable or visually appealing, AA cannabis can express a degree of characteristics central to a strain. Effects will be perceptible but not potent.
AA-rated cannabis is generally muted in smell and colour, though a slight brown appearance and earthy scent aren’t uncommon. AA-quality cannabis will be lower in trichomes than its higher-quality counterparts. As such, it is unlikely that the full spectrum of active chemicals will be expressed.
Commonly called “Trips,” AAA cannabis is our era’s middle-of-the-road marijuana. Once considered top quality, AAA is decent in character, expressing the visual and sensory aspects one would expect from a given strain. From the flavour and scent, to the expression of terpenes, to the effects, AAA cannabis is a reliable choice. When you order marijuana online, choosing AAA-level cannabis will deliver a great product for the cost.
AAA cannabis boasts notable trichomes over bright buds, often featuring colourful pistils. Psychoactive and therapeutic effects are evident, complemented by a spectrum of terpenes. Scent and flavour are pleasant, stepping away from the earthy-essence of lower-quality bud.
AAA+ – A step up from regular triple-A cannabis, AAA+ expresses as many positive aspects of a strain as its AAA counterparts, but in a more finessed manner. Flavours s are stronger and aromas sharper, with the experience and smokability hitting that next level. AAA+ is the good-to-great quality cannabis you buy over and over.
One reason it can be rated AAA+? Higher levels of THC and CBD as a result of better care. It may cost a bit more than lower-level A and AA offerings, but with increased levels of active chemicals the pros outweigh the cons.
Nearly the best of the best, this is next-level cannabis. AAAA cannabis has been expertly tended to and cared for. Cannabis ranking AAAA expresses a strain’s character to the utmost degree, producing undeniable effects. Boasting vibrant colours and flavours, AAAA cannabis, or “Quads,” exhibit the essential aspects of a cultivar.
Leaves are vivid in hue and heavy in cannabinoid-rich trichomes. Scent of both the dry bud and smoked product will be potent, complemented by an array of flavour notes. This is largely influenced by the strong presence of sensory-boosting terpenes.
The best of the best! This is top-shelf cannabis, expressing the absolute epitome of components present in a strain, from its physical appearance, to its scent and flavour, to the end experience. Meticulous care allows for all integral attributes of a cultivar to be revealed in brilliant leaves and abundant, frosty trichomes.
Being that AAAA+ is tended to in such an expert manner, it comes as no surprise that the spectrum of present cannabinoids and terpenes come through to provide a monumental level of benefits and effects. From powerful highs to a complete dismissal of pain, Quads deliver.
When you buy AAAA cannabis online in Canada, you may notice the price runs higher. But keep in mind, as with anything, you get what you pay for.
Making the Grade
Whether you’re growing cannabis or simply looking to order marijuana online, knowing how to grade is an invaluable skill. It allows growers to produce the best-quality product and ensures consumers understand what they are buying.
Interested in learning how to grade cannabis on your own? There are many incredible resources and courses available that will allow you to hone your cannabis grading skills at home!