Cannabis Quality Indicators


The Differences Between Cannabis Quality Tiers in Massachusetts

When you step into a dispensary for the first time, you may notice that the flower may be separated in the display case according to certain tiers or quality grades. Even if you do not see the tiers or grades clearly defined, you will see flower at several different price points.

When it comes to cannabis flower, not all buds portray the same quality. Therefore, while factors like potency, age, and growing methods used during cultivation may influence the price, quality can be one of the biggest price determinants.

What makes weed good or bad, and how do you evaluate the quality of bud when shopping at a dispensary? Take a look below at the difference between different cannabis quality tiers and what cannabis quality indicators you can look for when shopping for flower.

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Cannabis Quality Tiers Explained

While more extensive tier systems and grading systems range from poor-quality to the highest-quality flower, at Eskar, we only focus on quality flower. Therefore, you will not see any subpar selections or buds that would get a poor quality rating on our menu. Our tier system only includes flower that can be described as only good, better, or best. Take a closer look.

Tier I – Good Flower ($35 to $45 per eighth)

Tier I flower is well-cured and perfectly grown. The buds are pungent, boast a nice terpene profile, and do not contain seeds. Potency ranges here in Tier I tend to be on the lower end (15 to 20%), but this is not the rule. Some buds with this designation are potent, but may not be as enticing in other areas.

Tier II – Better Flower ($45 to $55 per eighth)

Tier II flower is usually so pretty and perfectly trimmed that it is photo-worthy. These flowers have aromatics that waft from the container, sometimes even discernible from several feet away, due to a high terpene content. Plus, these strains are often cultivated by growers who pay keen attention to nurturing the most desirable traits in the final product. THC patencies in Tier II can range from 20 to 25% with some room for variance.

Tier III – Best Flower ($55 per eighth and up)

Tier III flower is like the cream of the crop. These buds can be exceptionally aromatic, even more so than Tier II buds. They tend to be one of the most sparkly, trichome-frosted selections on the menu. The flavor and effects of these strains are some of the most desirable available, oftentimes grown by the top cannabis brands in the state. Further, it is not uncommon for Tier III strains to be exceptionally potent with THC percentages close to 30% or more.

The Standard Cannabis Grading System

The Standard Cannabis Grading System is a bit different from the quality tier system in use by a lot of dispensaries. However, there can be a few similarities. This system has been around and in use by cultivators since the 90s. Instead of tiers, the grades are “A” for the lowest quality through “AAAA+” for premium flower. The system is most often used by cultivators.

How to Identify Cannabis Quality Before You Buy

When determining a quality grade, growers look at a collection of cannabis quality indicators. While some indicators like cannabinoid and terpene content require lab testing, you can do several of the basic quality checks on your own.

Flower Structure and Color

Top-shelf or Tier III flower tends to have nice evenly trimmed buds with ample stickiness and a spongy feel. Further, the highest-quality buds will have a telltale vibrant color without a lot of off or brownish color.

Density of Trichomes

High-quality cannabis usually has the greatest distribution of resinous trichomes. Trichomes are also where the bulk of the THC is contained, which means a lot of trichome coverage can indicate a high-potency strain.


Aroma is a big attribute to consider when evaluating cannabis. Good cannabis is rich in terpenes, which means it has prominent aromatics. If you find bud that smells more earthy or like old hay, this is not high-quality weed.

Cannabis Quality Indicators

Shop for the High-Quality Flower at Eskar

At Eskar, we focus on providing only the highest-quality cannabis at our dispensaries. We go the extra mile to scout out the best cannabis flower in Massachusetts with the highest quality grades, so our customers always have access to only premium selections. Be sure to take a look at our elite selection of cannabis flower and other cannabis products by exploring our Northbridge or Arlington menu.

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