The Black Rabbit Grading System

If you’re a cannabis novice and you’re interested in the cultivation of marijuana you’ve probably thought about how to grow weed or when to harvest weed or even how to trim weed. If you have a natural interest in this side of cannabis culture, chances are you’re also curious about cannabis grading systems, which take into consideration all of the questions above. You might already be familiar with the legacy A-AAAA+ grading system from the times of prohibition but it’s important to note that the grading system is subjective and will vary from various brick and mortar dispensaries to Black Rabbit’s own online dispensary. At the end of the day, the ways that the quality of bud can be effectively measured takes into consideration a bunch of different factors. Below we compare the A-AAAA+ grading system against BR’s own Craft, Premium and Select categories and we shed some light on what it is exactly the Black Rabbit team looks for to formally assign a strain to each category.

How does the A-AAAA+ system work?

A or Singles – are the lowest of the cannabis grades and are now often hard to find in dispensaries. A quality bud often contains impurities such as stalks and stems and might come with a not so good high in the form of a headache or even dizziness.

AA or Dubs –  a weak nose and discolouration are usually the biggest tells for Dubs as they often have a brown or off-colour appearance. Dubs are where you start to see an increase in THC levels compared to A’s.

AAA or Trips – triple A grades used to be regarded as the best quality grade. Trips often have many of the same qualities that quad strains have but with less bud density and potentially some discolouration.

AAAA (and beyond) or Quads – Quads are the best of the best and rank high in THC/CBD content, colourization, bud size, trichome density and terpenoid content. Aroma and taste profiles really shine through with Quads and they’re also coupled with a smooth burning smoke.

The Black Rabbit Grading System

All of Black Rabbit’s strains are identified by our Craft, Premium and Select categories. Below we break down how each compares against the A-AAA+ system and what other considerations are put into play before we assign a category. It’s important to note, here at Black Rabbit we price according to grade but if you have any questions – hit up our chat bar and we’ll help you out. 


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Our Craft offering can be compared to High Quad strains. Craft strains are usually sourced from smaller boutique farmers that focus on new cutting-edge genetics with low intervention, natural and holistic growth methods. Looking for a Craft recommendation? Check out Layer Cake.


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Our Premium strains can be compared to Quads, Lo-Quads and Hi-Trips. Our Premium strains are more mass bred, have classic genetics, are well grown and are usually hand trimmed. They typically have everything our Craft strains have but are maybe lacking in one thing i.e. seeds are present, or the batch was tumble dried. Our Black Rabbit Premium pick is Comatose.


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Trips and below make up our Select category. They typically have older genetics whose potency has not kept up with the times. They’re still well grown, well cured, don’t contain anything toxic but if you’re into cheap canna just be mindful they’re often weaker strains better suited for novices.  Our Black Rabbit Select favourite is Recon.

What exactly do we look for?

Nose: are the aromatic traits familiar to the strain? Are they distinct to that strain?

Trichomes: this is where the THC is held and while the size of the trichome doesn’t matter, the colour does. If the trichomes are amber coloured they’re potentially old and aged and will give you more of a couch lock experience. If the trichomes are clear, this means the plant isn’t as mature but will result in a high that has high energy. The Black Rabbit preference is milky trichomes, which means the plant is fully developed. Trichomes are super tiny so you would need a jewelry loop to see them and when you do, they should be intact which means the bud hasn’t been overly handled.

Feel: Is it sticky? Is it bouncy? Is it fluffy? Is it dense? Indicas will be denser compared to Sativas. It’s also important to look out for moisture. It all has to do with the genetics of the bud and the cure, how the farmers harvest it and dry it out to the optimum moisture level. We test the cure by breaking the bud – is it malleable? Does it have a nice scent? That’s why BR includes Boveda moisture packs in each jar because growers cure to their preference and we want to maintain a certain level of moisture.  

When you break up the bud, a good cure will shred well and will release a deeper aroma – a different type of nose might also be exposed once broken up. When the bud is broken down, it shouldn’t be dusty – things like cure, storage, grinding technique, grinding tool will affect this.

Flavour: there needs to be long pull with flavour that will last from pull to pull and is relatively smooth.

Smoking experience: does the ash hold together well or is it light and fluffy? Smokers sometimes don’t want black ash as it could be an indicator of a plant that wasn’t flushed properly. What do we mean by flushed? Farmers often add plant food/nutrients to their crops and then they flush the plants with distilled water to get rid of the nutrients.

The exceptions to the dark ash rule are Living Soil Organic strains (we like Meat Breath LSO and Kootenay Black Gold) which add in microorganisms that will create the nutrients that the plant needs. These strains are naturally grown in a biodynamic environment and will often have worms, bugs and other microorganisms that are going to till the soil naturally. LSO strains are not flushed so you won’t get a pure white ash, it will likely be more of a salt and pepper ash.

Same Day Weed Deliver and Weed Delivery Canada-Wide

Itching to do a little testing and rating yourself? Black Rabbit has same day weed delivery in Toronto, Mississauga, and 14 other regions across the GTA. Live outside the GTA? Don’t worry, weed delivery Canada-wide is now available through our new mail order program.  

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