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CK August Blog 2

Street Tips for Cannabis Grades Leave a comment

You know those A ratings dotted around cannabis flowers? Those As represent the universally accepted cannabis quality ranking system that goes from A to AAAA+ ranking. This system has come into play thanks in large to the legalization of weed and may prove even more effective as a tool for the common consumer now that weed delivery is legal in Canada.

This system is a lot more sophisticated at first glance than one who’s still green to the cannabis industry might think. Some of the criteria measured are obvious: size, smell, color and effect – while others are less obvious: cannabinoid content, terpene levels and profile, strim, and cure.

With all this to keep in mind, how exactly do all these factors help us decide what grade cannabis flowers should be?

Here are a few key explanations of how the ranking system helps keep us in the know about the buds we love and the ones we might not.


Unless you lead with your nose, how a cannabis bud looks in a cannabis dispensary is your first good indicator of quality. As it turns out, the old saying – if it looks good it probably is – applies to cannabis pretty well.

The first thing you usually notice is the color and fuzzy texture. The brighter the green and accented colors like yellow, orange, purple, and sometimes even blue are, the more care was put into the plant it came from, hence the better the quality. For example, a bud like the one we just day dreamed about would likely be a AAA+ – AAAA+ based on how it looked alone.

The second thing to look for is trichome count. The more fuzzy and frosted a nug looks, the better it will be on the cannabinoid and terpene profiles. Make sure your trichomes are milky-clear in color. If they’ve turned amber, all you have there is baker’s weed. Amber means older trichomes, which mean they’ve lost most of their potency.


Something that correlates well with what we just talked about in trichome appearance is the smell of a cannabis bud. The reason is that the trichomes are the holy grail of the cannabis effect as they contain both the cannabinoids (THCA, CBDA), and all the different terpenes (beta myrcene, alpha-pinene, limonene, etc). The cannabinoids themselves are odorless, but the terpenes on the other hand, are responsible for ALL the scent and flavour profiles in the cannabis flowers. You can tell alot more than just grade from the smell of a flower, you can even predict the effects once you smoke it with a fair degree of accuracy.

Lemon smells usually mean uplifting, lavender type smells usually mean sedating and calming. This is a simplified explanation, but since we covered this in a previous post, we won’t got over it again here.

What you need to know for smell, is generally what you’d expect – the better it smells, the generally higher the quality.

Growth Conditions

This final metric builds on the last two so we chose to present it last. Growing conditions are probably the most important of any factor when it comes to cannabis quality. Seed and strain have nothing to do with how the final product is graded. THC content isn’t a primary factor either. No. What matters is how a plant was cultivated, first and foremost.

Grades are affected by how well a flower develops in relation to how it was cultivated and cured so if pesticides or growth chems or any malpractice was implemented, the grade would be equally affected. The higher the grade, the more pure and natural the crop was, and the safer it is to smoke too. Ever inhaled pesticides? With black market weed, you don’t have a definitive answer to that. Hence why we have regulations and grading systems in the legal markets.

For top quality cannabis of all grades, visit our store. Our curators know what they’re doing when they buy and sell cannabis online. This ensures you know exactly what you’re getting.

Pro tip, AA grade is generally better used to make edibles and butters, while AAA and up are best to be enjoyed smoked, or vaped.

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