What is AAAA Weed: Learn the Weed Grading System In-Depth

What is AAAA weed is a question asked by a fair share of new cannabis enthusiasts and those that have been ignoring it for some time. The Canadian cannabis grading system has been evolving ever since, and what we have now has been the standard.

You’re in the right guide if you want to find out what AAAA weed is. West Coast Cannabis has a vast selection of AAAA-grade cannabis under its wing. Check out the reviews of people who bought and used them!

In this post, we will discuss the complete Canadian cannabis grading system, how it came to be, how it evolved, and other important information you need to know about it!

What is a Weed Grading System?


Over the course of cannabis history, there have been multiple grading methodologies to determine weed quality. This was what separated low-grade weed from good-quality weed.

The purpose of this system is to be able to identify the different grades of marijuana for them to be appropriately categorized.

Today, too few weed grading systems are in place. In Canada, the AA to AAAA-grade weed system is used to determine quality, while some use low-grade cannabis, mid-grade weed, and higher-grade cannabis or top-quality weed.

NOTE: Some may not have accurate or consistent units for identification. They are merely weed grades for better and categorized pricing.

Canadian Cannabis Grading System History

Before jumping straight into the vortex of the weed grading system, let’s first discuss where Canada’s weed grading system came from. Contrary to popular belief, this weed grading system has evolved through time and has been able to adjust according to the current premium weed class and trend.

Weed Grading System in the ’80s

The cannabis industry saw a significant adjustment, especially when it came to identifying the lowest grade of cannabis from the best and highest qualities. During this time, dispensaries in Canada and cannabis-related institutions recognize weed through the following cannabis grades:

  • A-Grade Cannabis or Singles: The lowest grade before
  • AA-Grade Cannabis or Dubs: Standard or regular-grade strains
  • AAA-Grade Cannabis or Trips: The highest quality weed at that time

Cannabis Grading System in the ’90s

After a decade, a new system emerged for grading cannabis, which was a few steps better and more comprehensive than the ’80s version. Opening the ’90s, newer strains and cannabis types came to life. We’re talking about different variations, different strains, and a combination of aromas and flavors.

From the A-grade cannabis came something slightly better than its following grade —better than the dirt weed or ditch weed we knew, but a little less than the AA weed grades.

The added grades that would further determine weed quality are the Low Dubs or the -AA in the AA-grade scale and the High Trips or AAA+ on the 3A range.

The 2000s Until Today

Then, finally, cannabis quality has been sought after not just by cultivators, online dispensaries, and cannabis connoisseurs but also dispensaries. Across Canada, cannabis dispensaries agreed to have a solid slate in determining premium weed-grade quality, and that is by adding a fourth grade, higher than the AAA-grade weed, which is AAAA cannabis.

Although this is not a legally approved system for determining quality cannabis (if taken and seen from a scientific angle), this is what’s being distributed and told by different cannabis dispensaries in Canada. This is what they follow, and almost everyone has a decent understanding of what it is.

Until today, marijuana dispensaries follow this grading process in determining if certain buds are rated as low-quality weed (ditch weed or schwag or dirt weed) or if they are premium weed (AAAA-high-grade weed).

Is There an Official Cannabis Grading System?

As of the moment, Canadian dispensaries that are licensed and regulated do not follow this grading system. Instead, they prefer to check cannabis quality through THC and CBD potency, which is reviewed and determined by official lab tests and results.

The reason why is that testing the potency reciprocates cannabis quality. I mean, you care more about the effects of cannabis than how it looks like, smells like, and feels like, right? Although those three traits contribute to quality, the levels of strength and potency are the things that really matter.

2023 Weed Grading System: What are A, AA, AAA, and AAAA Weed

Not all cannabis plants are made, cultured, and taken care of equally. Some even have good genetics, while others have the worst. And although this weed grading system doesn’t tell us anything about the CBD and THC levels of a strain, it’s an excellent way to check and see the quality of the weed.

A-Grade Cannabis (Dirt Weed or Ditch Weed)

Just by looking at it, you would immediately recognize that the less the “As” are, the lower the quality. In today’s standing, A-grade cannabis is what’s considered the lowest grade, the bottom of the pit, and the worst of all.

It’s so bad that it’s not anymore considered the most common cannabis form. You’ll less likely be able to see it in online dispensaries.

These A-grade weed variants are the worst, but overall, they still have a resemblance to a bud. The structure is retained, but its physicality is tampered with.

You will notice discoloration of the leaves, unwanted stems, loose fragments, and sometimes even a blackish hue on the flower itself.

Typically, suppliers use A-grade cannabis flowers for concentrates or extracts, selling whatever they will have left cheaply for additional profit. Effects-wise, it can still give you the head and body buzz you’re looking for, but you may encounter a couple of side effects.

AA-Grade Cannabis (Dubs)

Coming next is AA-grade cannabis. At one point, they were considered one of the best-quality cannabis options due to the scarcity of higher-quality weed. Many would say AA cannabis is budget-friendly, with good bud density and mediocre color. However, since the spawning of other top-quality weed, they were immediately shunned.

Most tokers, smokers, and enthusiasts choose AA-grade cannabis or dubs because it is cheap and affordable. It still gives you the “buzz” you’re looking for, like with ditch weed or schwag, but it isn’t as luscious as better and higher-quality cannabis.

I have tried AA weed dozens of times already; it’s even what I consider my go-to whenever I feel like I’m on a budget.

AAA-Grade Cannabis (Trips)

For years, trips have been the best quality weed in the market. Before the emergence of AAAA grade cannabis, trips or this AAA-quality grade cannabis you’ll consider the best.

Even today, some smokers and cannabis consumers say that trips have better and smoother hits than AAAA-grade cannabis. Although it doesn’t have the same qualities as quads, these mid-grade strains are respectable enough to have a consistent and smooth burn.

Don’t be confused because most trips or AAA-grade strains are good-quality weed. And with good, I mean they share a lot of traits and qualities with 4As or quads. The difference would be in terms of the bud density—they have less bud density and could contain discoloration, close to AA-grade strains.

Unlike low-quality weed, trips or AAA-grade cannabis strains are considered the most common cannabis form sold in most online dispensaries.

Personally, I like a few rounds of trips instead of quads. Besides the cheaper and more affordable prices, they’re not as hard and rough as some quads that are actually potent and strong.

AAAA-Grade Cannabis (Quads or High-Quality Weed)

And last, but most definitely not least—the premium weed, the highest quality, and the one that put mid-grade weed back into its place—AAAA-grade cannabis or also referred to as quads.

The reason why they’re called quads is that they pass all the criteria needed to be a premium weed grade. From the density of trichomes, the trim, and the burn to the ash color, they’ll meet—sometimes, even exceed your expectations.

This is the farthest you can get from A and AA-grade weed, but they’re still not perfect. I say this because you will definitely know the difference between AAAA-grade cannabis from others almost instantly after smoking and consuming it.

4As’ tastes are well-developed compared to all other weed grades below it. Lower grades have significantly poorer bud density, more discoloration, and flavors that don’t really make sense. With AAAA-grade weed, though, you’ll be mesmerized.

I like to think of it as the Bugatti of marijuana; those in the top 1% of the best-quality cannabis you will find in the market. The price speaks for itself—no need to market or advertise it, and you don’t need to work hard to make it sell. People are magnetically drawn to it.

Those are the different grades of weed in this particular grading system. Do remember, though, that this is not an official system.

Many of you ask—personally, I ask it, too—is AAAA weed the highest grade? Isn’t there something better and higher? Well, that pulls us to the discussion of whether AAAAA weed is existent or not.

Is There an AAAAA-Weed Grade?

The question all of you have been waiting to be answered is, is there such a thing as AAAAA cannabis? Officially speaking, it only goes up to AAAA weed. However, some dispensaries and shops consider something even better and higher than that: AAAAA cannabis.

Most clients consider this as the penultimate quality of weed, the best of the best, and the type that will burn your pockets insanely hard.

Experts and dispensaries look at it as if it’s their first time trying it. It’s perfect from the inside out, boasting thick, fresh, forest-type buds with a touch of those white and perfect trichomes.

The taste is full and rich, discoloration is rare, and the aroma is powerful and noticeable. Furthermore, you will also notice that the buds are fresh and thick and deliver outstanding taste.

If the lowest grade weed is sometimes referred to as ditch weed or dirt weed, the highest grade is often nicknamed dank, chronic, or fire. Why?—All these terms mean that their qualities are unparalleled—that they have unmatched aromas and tastes, and that it is sporadic to find products that are close to their quality.

5A is the shorter term of this AAAAA grade, and a lot of times, they take pride in the intense effects that this category has on THC and CBD potency. Cannabis connoisseurs and experts say that the side effects of 5A are significantly less than others, but they don’t shy from 4A or AAAA cannabis that much.

How Does This Grading System Determine Weed Quality?

The cannabis plant, like other plants, has noticeable texture, quality, and appearance. Cannabis growers can easily determine if a plant has grown well or not.

So, besides checking for CBD and THC levels, how does this particular grading system determine cannabis quality? How are they rated? Unless you are a cannabis expert, only the grower would have the necessary set of skills to assess quality. Often, they are based on the following:

Aroma and Flavor

Cannabis-grade strains have varying and unique aromas and flavors. Not all strains are the same—some are equally useful or utterly useless. Very low-quality strains and grades usually have a shorter shelf life and can turn musty and moist quickly.

On the other hand, high-quality weed will be able to retain its current state. Some would even have a dank and pungent aroma that’s strong enough to make you second guess your decision.


Very low weed quality has high possibilities of turning off in the middle of the burn because of the excess moisture within it. Usually, the non-extensive curing process


The ash, following that, is another important clue that helps experts determine how low or high the quality of cannabis is. Dark brown ash would be the color of low-quality weed; in fact, the lowest grade would be the darkest brown, and white would be for those that are high in quality.

Flower Structure

The perfect weed is usually what you imagine it to be, a little sticky, spongy, and soft but kind of texturized on the outside. It is symmetrical and is kind of equal. The main thing is that the edges and textures aren’t ragged.


The aromatic qualities and scents of the cannabis plant play a crucial role in what it smells and taste like. In addition, they’re the ones responsible for the effects and medicinal benefits that specific strains have, making the effects unique and rare.


Seeing the trichomes is actually one of the most accessible parts of identifying quality. The more trichomes, the better the quality. Trichomes are THC directly. Plus, they help block the sun from entering or penetrating the plant itself.

So these are the primary factors and traits that dictate the most widely used grading system of cannabis.

What is a Weed Grade Chart?

While dispensaries in Canada classify their weed using this grading system, licensed and legalized cannabis stores globally, refrain from using a weed grading system or a weed grade chart to determine the potency and strength of cannabis.

A weed grade chart is something that’s more commonly referred to as the chart that tells the story of how good or bad the cannabis plant is.

Overall, finding out what AAAA weed is will be easy; once you’ve grown accustomed to how the rankings work and what qualities are assessed, you will be able to easily determine good-quality cannabis from low-quality ones.


Even after learning this, people still have too few questions about weed grading and quality. So, I tried looking for their most common and important questions!

What is Top-Shelf Weed?

Top-shelf weed is the term used for cannabis flowers of the highest quality. Usually, they’re the ones advertised more in a physical store or online dispensary.

How Many Grams is in a Quarter Pound?

You would see that a quarter pound, in conversion, would be 113.4 grams. When, in reality, a quarter pound is just 112 grams.

What Does Low-Grade Weed Mean?

Low-grade weeds are products that do not pass specific criteria. It can be anything from the bud size and density, the structure of the flower, aroma, and taste, and even the trichomes present on the buds.

Final Thoughts

So, what is AAAA weed? I’m sure that this post was able to answer that particular question. Not only that, but I also gave you an outline of the lower-grade cannabis in the industry and system.

Whether you’re looking for regular AA-grade strains or you plan on getting something at the top of the ladder, never hesitate to visit this guide again!

Christopher Andrews
I am Christopher Andrew, the owner of 420 Expert Adviser. I have been in cannabis cultivation for more than ten years, and I'm sharing my experience with you guys using this blog!

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