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The Canadian Weed Grading System

Updated: Nov 13, 2021

When it comes to the cannabis industry, you may find a variety of different grading systems depending on who the seller is. This is quite normal to find, although they can be very subjective. Reference has been made by others to a kind of “Good ,Better, Best” system within cannabis grading. In Canada though, most retailers, including MediCann are using a single grading system with weed levels going from A to AAAA+, A strains typically being cheap but of poor quality, as opposed to AAAA+ which are the best you can find in in quality.

Can You Notice the Difference in Grade Levels and Does it Matter?

There is a big difference between the grade levels of cannabis: Taste, smell, and how it looks. A more experienced user will notice the difference when presented with these different grades, when a beginner light not notice the difference. The question of whether it matters is really down to you. As experienced users, we would certainly say that it matters a lot. Just as with many products, you want the best quality and experience with your purchase. If you want to experience the full quality and effects as they are described, then AAAA and AAA grades of cannabis really are the only choice you can make.

What Is AAAA Weed?

When you buy weed in Canada and want the best quality, shop AAAA (and above) strains. The AAAA grade level typically represents the very best grade available. Typically, a AAAA will be over 28% THC, have a pungent and pleasing smell, no questionable aromas. The bud should be dense and in good form. Over-all coloration should show a hint of orange or purple. Taste, as with the aroma, no harsh aftertaste is a good sign of this grade of cannabis. AAAA is highly recommended for connoisseurs!

AAAA+ Being best of the best

Cannabis connoisseurs, don’t look any further for the top-shelf quality is you want to buy weed online in Ottawa. You will enjoy our premium selection of AAAA+ weed strains. Not all weed is made alike and AAAA+ weed strains are the best that can be found on the market. They are strong, flavourful high and will give you all the potent you need.

The quality is usually excellent and can be relied on when looking for a strain that will meet all your needs. AAA grade cannabis should posses many of the same qualities that AAAA cannabis does, the biggest difference in quality will comes from the buds texture/trim. The THC % ranges from 20-28%, beyond that it’s mainly all about how it smells, how it looks and how it tastes. Potency is a good indicator when determining the quality of the grade of cannabis, AAA cannabis will deliver maximum potency similar to Quad A, with the full effects of the THC being felt.

AAA weed grades are the most sought after strains on the market, each strain is high in quality but also sells for a reasonable price. At Haute.Health the choice for AAA grade cannabis is plentiful and in abundance, and is some of the best cannabis anywhere in Canada. If you’re looking for top quality AAA grade cannabis, here are a few we recommend that we know you will love!

What Is AA Weed?

AA Grade weed is not necessarily the best weed in terms of appearance, but it can still give you a pretty good high. This quality of weed will look a little weak, with relatively thin and brittle buds and still a fair bit of stem content. It’ll usually be much greener than higher quality strains, although some colour might pop out. As such, mid-range weed is often a great choice for those who want a potent high without paying too much for it. That’s why it is recommended for non-connoisseurs. 

(we currently do not have any A or AA strains in stock)


Asides the detection of cannabis quality based on the CBD or THC-level, there are other methods to determine the quality of the plant before purchase.

Flower Structure: The flower or “bud” is the smokable, trichome covered section of the cannabis plant. In a dispensary, the best quality flowers are often referred to as private reserves or top shelf, with other grades been the mid-shelf and bottom-shelf flowers. Here are some easily identifiable characteristics of each flower grade:

  • The top-shelf flowers are characterized by their geometrical buds and their sticky or spongy feel.

  • The mid-shelf flowers have varying characteristics based on their curing duration and might be dry or wet, possibly contains a few stems.

  • The bottom-shelf flowers are the lowest grade quality having a brownish or off-color appearance, are very dry to the touch, and have an earthy odor due to poor environmental conditions, which cause the oxidation of THC to CBN (cannabinol).

Trichome Density: Trichomes are the resinous hair-like structures on the buds of the cannabis plant. They are the reservoirs of THC, and asides been the source of the “high,” they protect the plant from pests, insects and the sun.

  • Oodles of trichomes often identify high-quality cannabis, while

  • Mid-shelf flowers, by their moderately defined frosty trichomes; and,

  • Bottom-shelf flowers by their low or almost absent trichomes.

Trim: Trimming in cannabis cultivation is the act of shearing off long leaves from the plant, post-harvest. As unimportant as this might seem, trimming is an essential aspect of the aesthetic value and grade quality of the plant. High-quality cannabis often comes with a good trim, while low or mid-quality usually have less time put into their care.

Terpene profile: Terpenes are the compounds in all plants responsible for their distinctive aroma. In cannabis, they work synergistically with compounds to produce the effect and therapeutic benefits of the plant. Due to their strong odor, they also help ward off the plant’s predators.

Sprays and Pesticides: Although the use of chemical pesticides in the cultivation of cannabis plants is illegal, some cannabis growers go against the law. Asides the potential health risks of ingesting chemical residues, the presence of such residues or diseases could give an inkling to the quality of the cannabis.

Burn: In the determination of cannabis’ quality through examining the burn and ash consistency, the method of curing is a considerable factor. High-quality cannabis is most times cured for an adequate period to expel excess moisture, causing it to burn well without quenching. While for the low-quality grades, the curing process is most times hurried through, and hence, moisture content remains relatively high.

Ash Color: In terms of ash color, high-quality cannabis burns pure white, mid-quality burns light grey, and low-quality burns dark grey or black ash. Similar to the grind test, the consistency of the ash can also be used to determine its quality – does it stay clumped, or does it scatter?

Flavor and Effect: Each grade quality has its distinct burn flavor and effect owed to its phytochemical levels. Therefore, this is a crucial factor to consider when evaluating cannabis quality.

In conclusion, regardless of the purpose for acquiring cannabis, the quality purchased should be of utmost importance, not just for its efficiency but for the health of the end-consumer.

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