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Cannabis grading and appraisal, what's the difference?

Cannabis grading and appraisal, what's the difference?

By Allison Cohn

Big Tree offers a variety of essential tools for the cannabis industry to build trust and effectively communicate. Some of the most important and beneficial services we provide are grading and appraisal opportunities. Our staff of trained professionals is well versed with quality standards and industry certifications, utilizing their vast knowledge and skillset to provide buyers and sellers with inspection results that permit them to make informed decisions when moving products.

Grading and appraisal go hand in hand, but they are actually separate services. One does beget the other, however. Think of it like this: Grading is internal, while appraisal is external. Grading tells a grower how they’re doing against themselves and others. Is their product controlled and consistent? Appraisal factors in all of the outside market influences, which a grower has no control over. And in order for Big Tree to appraise one’s product, it must first be graded.


Grading cannabis uses a specific standardized number between 1-100 to assign a tangible score to a product based on its quality. This score is determined by analyzing over twenty data variables, including qualitative and quantitative characteristics. Big Tree inspectors employ International Cannabis and Hemp Standards (ICHS) Fair Market Certification process while performing on-site grading, scoring and certifying.

The grade of a product should ideally remain consistent, according to Big Tree CEO, Eric Cozens. Then this grade provides knowledge of the quality of the product, and whether it goes up or down from there, to both the grower and everyone else in the industry.

“Growers are looking at the same thing everyday, so they may not notice small slips or trends,” says Cozens. “Having an outside, third party come and analyze your product objectively, comparing it to thousands of other samples in the same market, offers a fresh insight.”

Grading is super beneficial to growers in this regard, because it allows them to see where their product stands against their peers and competitors. It provides a neutral, common language to buy and sell products within the industry. When a product has a grade, its quality and consistency are made transparent. This simple notation attests to a product’s status within the marketplace, making transactions more straightforward and empowering buyers by providing consistent product and suppliers with consistent sales.


Appraisal is the market price that a grade will sell for, which can change all of the time depending on the volume of products in the market, time of year and various outside economical factors. Prices will fluctuate throughout the year, even if the quality of the product doesn’t change. Big Tree determines the market value of a product by researching current local market data and pricing trends compared with the grade and quality of the material.

Appraisals provide suppliers with an estimated price range that they should expect to receive for their product. This valuable information allows growers to reliably calculate revenue opportunities, so that they can more accurately estimate the value of their material. Knowing the valuation of their product further entitles these growers to legitimate rates based on the worth and quality of their cannabis, allowing them to more efficiently and effectively move inventory. Buyers also reap the benefits of purchasing appraised products, because they know and trust that they’re paying a Fair Market price.

Everyone in the industry benefits from cannabis products being both graded and appraised. By analyzing these products, quality verifying them, and assigning a price range based on the scores and researched market value worth, quality and consistency become regulated throughout the industry. The unbiased language of grading scores goes a long way in providing transparency in an industry still striving to find that common ground, which directly influences a product’s appraised market value.

Allison Cohn
Allison Cohn

Allison Cohn loves gold spray paint and nonsense. She also has a very difficult time sitting still and keeping quiet. She can often be found dancing like a fool when she isn’t hiding out in her mountain lair or gallivanting around the globe.