TAG™: Trichome Assurance GradeThe world's first and only cannabis quality certification
TAG: Trichome Assurance Grade
TAG standardizes quality evaluation and ensures the consistency of parameters for testing and rating cannabis products, which all starts with our certified technicians and interpeners.
Trichome Institute’s TAG program has a world-class standard operating procedure that weighs three classes of quality values. The three value categories have a total of 12 inputs, rated numerically and weighed in order of importance, based on interpening methodology.
In the cannabis industry, it is widely believed that lab testing alone is what determines the quality of cannabis products, but that’s not the case at all. As important as lab testing is to determine a flower’s chemotype and if it contains pesticides, microbials, or any residual solvents for extracts, there are many other factors that aren’t included that, when combined, ultimately determine quality. Lab tests don’t test for insects, nutrient lock, trichome ripeness and density, degree of flush, age, pungency, psychotropic effects, and countless other things that an interpener can identify. Fortunately, the TAG report includes the best of both worlds—a full lab test and the expertly judged quality based on a standardized and accurate numerical scale from a certified technician.
TAG reports include:
- TAG Approved Lab Testing
- Residual Solvents
- Twelve-point Qualitative Assessment
- Three-tiered Consumption Analysis
- Inter-rater Reliability of Multiple Interpeners
- Macro and Microscopic Photography
- Visual and Aroma Perception Evaluation
- Psychotropic Effects Classification within the BLM / NLM Spectrum
Judging Cannabis Cups
All products are internally coded by the Cannabis Cups themselves, so TAG judges have no idea what company submitted each product. This is a competition based on product quality not the popularity of the contestants. Due to the strain name dilemma, Indica/Sativa speciation quagmire, and the inability to verify strain lineage; these factors are not graded, judged, or monitored by cannabis cups, Trichome Institute, or third-party labs.
Flower Evaluations are based on the same
Interpening methodology that Trichome Institute teaches and are judged by certified interpeners.
Broad to Narrow Leaf Spectrum
Pistil Health & Ripeness
Quality of inhalation
Nutrient deficiency / lock
Mold & Mildew
Seeds & micro-seeds
Hash & Concentrates
Hash and Concentrates are extremely diverse between each category and also within the same category. Trichome Institute relies heavily on the lab results to assist the judging process with these product categories. Through TAG, the quality of these products
Ultimately, the quality of the product is what determines the majority of the TAG score with hash and concentrates, the potency is considered but is not the deciding factor. For example, Live Resin is a product that stands apart due to it’s living terpene profile. If a Live Resin product has a higher potency but has initiated the chemical nucleation process (moisture molecules fracturing the product’s bond) rendering a crystalline state (sugar), it would then promote terpene oxidation and dispersal. This is defeating the purpose of the Live Resin product, which is to maintain the living terpenes within the product via its bond and stability. A Live Resin with a complete bond, golden color, massive pungency, clean inhalation and taste with a high chemotype lab test would win over a watery live resin in a crystalline state even if it has more THC.
Shatter must be rigid to semi-flexible and cannot crumble or be
Distillate / Isolate can be either a liquid or a crystal solid
Oil cannot be solid, must be
Wax cannot be a liquid or rigid or solid, must be semi-flexible
Rosin must be extracted with heat and pressure only
Live Resin cannot be a runny liquid
Solventless, Hashish, Bubble, Temple Balls can only be extracted with hands, screens, and water. No chemical solvents can be used.
Edibles, Topicals, Transdermals, and
TAG judges take into account lab results including cannabinoid and terpene profiles, and also consider microbes and pesticides from a purity standpoint. The collective team of judges
Edibles must be completely swallowed like consuming traditional foods and beverages. Sweets must have the intention of being
Topicals must be a skin or hair product like a cream, salve, lotion, lip balm, bath product etc. with no transdermal applications or chemistry.
Transdermals must have the intent and chemical ability to pass the epidermis. This includes gels, sprays, creams, salves, rubs, compounds, patches, etc.
Standard State Lab Test
Cannabinoid & Terpene Levels
E. coli and Salmonella (rarely occurs on flower)
Metals: Arsenic, Cadmium, Lead, Mercury
Trichome Integrity & Terpene Strength
Powdery Mildew and Botrytis cinerea (occurs on flower often)
Nutrient Burn/Overdose, Un-flushed Product, Light Burn, Insects, Webs, Eggs, Exoskeletons, Hair, Dirt, Other filth, Hermaphrodites, seeds, and more.
Bud structure and Trim Quality
Cannabis Variety Type-Designation
Overall Bud Health