Cannabis strains: What’s in a name?

While legalization offers consumers a smorgasbord of strains to choose from, you have to dig a little deeper to refine your experience

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      I was comparing weed notes with a friend on the weekend. He’d just been gifted a wonderful cannabis plant. He mentioned some strain he’d just tried with a name that escapes me now because it was definitely trying too hard to be the bomb, as it were.

      What’s in a name? Not much when it comes to cannabis strains. 

      Legalization has taken marijuana marketing to unforeseen heights, and some stranger places. There’s a strain for every mood under the sun and they all come with names meant to sell you on an idea. Ah yes. Palms swaying in the breeze, the comfortably numbing swoosh of waves lapping up on your imaginary beach. It’s like winning the lottery.

      But don’t let the names fool you. Not all God Bud is created equal. Strains carrying the same name can be entirely different depending on where you buy them. Much depends on the batch. 

      If you really want to know what you’re getting, a name promising some version of nirvana isn’t going to help you. It’s the chemical profile you’re looking for to refine your experience, especially if you’re using cannabis medicinally in any serious way. 

      “Chemovars” and “chemotypes”, as they are known in the industry, will help you pinpoint strains to help you deal with whatever’s your pleasure. So it’s important to read the fine print on your purchase re: terpenes and the like. Linalool-rich strains, for example, are known for their calming effect and for providing pain relief. Limonene-rich strains, on the other hand, are mood lifters. 

      While legalization has offered up a veritable smorgasbord of strains for consumers to choose from, you have to dig a little deeper to know what you’re really getting.

      If you’re just looking to get high then all need to concern yourself with are THC and CBD levels. But now that it’s legal, the cannabis experience can be so much more than that. The science is progressing. We are learning new things about how to unlock the true power of cannabinoids every day.

      That’s another thing about legalization—while giving us more strains than we could ever hope for, it’s choked off an illicit import market that used to deliver some of the best cannabis nations like Mexico, Jamaica, and Colombia had to offer. Whatever happened to straight-up strain names like Acapulco Gold? Oh wait, it’s Johnny Chronic Acapulco Gold now. 

      Those strains are mostly hard to grow here. They are too finicky for our climate. That they sell out when they are available on the legal market is a testament to their legacy—and the fact that you don’t need fancy labels to sell product.

      As consumers become more educated about cannabis, what names we decide to give strains in the future will take on a whole new meaning.