For the wine connoisseur, going to the liquor store would be a different experience without the existence of the wine grading scale. Without a reliable number-based rating conducted by certified wine sommeliers, one would have to be an incredibly experienced wine taster in order to know how to connect with wines of high quality.
If price was a reliable indicator of quality, these grading systems would not be as essential as they are, but unfortunately, a higher price does not always equal higher quality. This is especially true when comparing new world wines to old world wines, as old world wines that are widely appreciated as “high quality” are far more common than among those produced in the new world. This reflects the long-standing culture of wine production and overall connoisseurship of European consumers.
In Canada, where cannabis legalization has led to cannabis stores carrying a variety of products and price points, a similar need for quality grading has arisen. This system is perhaps most sorely needed in Western Canada where consumers who have been spoiled by a thriving craft market have led to particularly high-quality expectations.
For this reason, CannaReps has taken it upon itself to develop a grading scale that connects with the traditional “A” based quality grading and allows consumers to connect with products that fall under these long-established quality specifications. For those with experience consuming cannabis, the term ‘quad’ or “AAAA” reflects a particular level of quality that simply cannot be improved. Knowing which cultivators/varieties are achieving this level of quality in any market has always been a point of pride for those in the know.
The intention in creating and sharing this scale is not to reinvent the wheel, but to make a more defined and modern wheel, capable of aiding consumers with high expectations with the ability to shop without the heartache and disappointment that comes with paying high prices for bad weed.
The CannaReps Grading Scale
Let’s take a sneak peek at the different number values, how they reflect on traditional “A” based ratings, together with verbal descriptions of what each of these ratings means:
50-70 (A): Not recommended for smokers, more vaporizer friendly
70-80 (AA): Mediocre: a smokable cultivar that may have minor flaws
80-85 (AAA): A decent cultivar; solid smoke and acceptable physical appearance
85-90 (AAA+): A good cultivar; good smoke, aroma and physical appearance
90-95 (AAAA): An outstanding cultivar; expressing ‘loud’ aroma/flavour with buds that have maintained integrity and express healthy trichome cover.
95-100 (AAAA+): A classic or exotic genetic that expresses every physical, aromatic and flavor attribute to its maximum quality potential.
The CannaReps Grading Scale aims to pay tribute to the long-standing culture around quality appreciation while providing a specific range of weighted quality factors to consider when judging a particular cultivar. This added structure will provide our students with a standardized way of arriving at a quality gradient for any cultivar!
A big thanks to Tom Hicks and Mike Chyczij, our two in-house product experts who helped during early phase testing to ensure that the scale accurately reflected the traditional quality gradients.
Written by Adolfo Gonzalez
Image by Mike Chyczij of Green Grow Spaces