As the cannabis industry becomes more prevalent, the naming conventions of marijuana strains names are slowly beginning to reflect the legitimacy of the multi-billion sector.
The information consumers are getting at the dispensary counter can be wildly inaccurate, according to a story published this week in Marijuana Business Daily:
Agricultural scientists like Sean Myles of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, are doing their best to show strain names out the door.
Myles and fellow scientists found a remarkably low level of accuracy in strain names last year while comparing hundreds of cannabis plants and their breeds.
The study found that in about one-third of the cases where they had two producers with the same strain name, the cannabis samples weren’t genetically identical – which one would expect if they were bred properly.
“There were lots of varieties of cannabis (in the study sample) that were claimed to be 100% sativa, but the next one in the collection claimed to be 100% indica,” Myles said. “We know that’s impossible and that was really common in the data set.”
Autumn Karcey, president of Cultivo, a Los Angeles cultivation consultancy, agrees with Myles’ assessment:
“Plants – even within the same strain – don’t always come out the same. This is why the term ‘strain’ is a thorn in my side, because it means absolutely nothing. I can take Sour Diesel from four of my friends and I can take Mimosa or Clementine from multiple people, and if I genomically test it, it’s going to be drastically different from person to person unless they all have the same cut.”
Some insiders believe strain names are here to stay, but consumers will have more information to make better purchasing decisions, according to the report. Says Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association:
“I don’t think strain names are just going to go away. Consumers are definitely becoming more aware of the cannabinoid profile – the information that’s on packaging that’s pretty much anywhere now – and that informs more decisions. We’ll still see strain names, but with a move to consistency.”
Earlier this year, CANNDESCENT, a California cannabis grower, began providing more consumer-friendly product names.
“You shouldn’t need to bio-hack your body through a periodic table of ominous strain names like Durban Poison and Trainwreck just to buy some pot,” said Adrian Sedlin, CEO of CANNDESCENT. “The way Apple made computing more intuitive and Google streamlined search, we want to democratize strain selection and provide users the opportunity to curate their life experience. Google asked, ‘What do you want to know?’ CANNDESCENT asks, ‘How do you want to feel?’ ”
Sedlin believes this approach will appeal to the cannabis curious or those new to marijuana.
“Our biggest opportunity rests with the 98 percent of adults who are not regularly enjoying cannabis,” said Sedlin. “We seek to educate them.”