The success of the commercial cannabis industry has been nothing short of spectacular in recent years. Thanks to so many states legalizing medical and/or recreational use, the industry has nowhere to go but up. But there is a downside. Cannabis’ heavy commercialization has led to some medical users obsessing over favorite strains.
In the cannabis world, a strain is essentially a plant variety. Cannabis growers rely on cross breeding, genetic engineering, and other techniques to produce plants with a variety of desirable characteristics. Every new plant is considered a new strain.
Let’s be honest. From the business side of things, developing new cannabis strains, is no different than developing different flavors of coffee. Coffee roasters take immense pride in mixing and matching different types of beans and subjecting them to proprietary roasting processes to get the perfect flavor. They do it all to sell more product. Cannabis growers are no different.
Names Are Largely Meaningless
Cannabis growers might sell their plants directly to consumers. They might also sell biomass to processors who turn it into things like vape cartridges and gummies. Some do both. Regardless, here is what you need to know about the names they give their strains: those names are largely meaningless.
Names are developed for marketing purposes. Growers and processors alike want catchy names that get your attention. They want names that you will remember for a long, long time. Whether or not a strain’s chosen name says anything about its properties doesn’t really matter. Sometimes it does, other times it does not.
The reality of product naming gives us a glimpse into why medical cannabis users should not obsess over favorite strains. In the medical arena, the effect a given product has on you is more important than the strain from which it is derived. Knowing exactly what is in a given product is also important.
Cannabinoids, Terpenes, Etc.
So, if strains are not as important as some people make them out to be, what should medical cannabis users focus on? A ‘Utah in the Weeds’ podcast found on the Utahmarijuana.org website answers the question. In that podcast, Utah Marijuana’s Tim Pickett discusses strains with guest Collin Mekan. The pair talk about how it is more important to pay attention to cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds.
It is the interaction of cannabinoids and terpenes with the human endocannabinoid system that gives cannabis its therapeutic benefits. So while it is true that strains can be engineered to be heavy in certain cannabinoids and lighter in others, that only matters when a patient is working with raw flower. It has no bearing on the products that processors and manufacturers make.
Know Your Ingredients
As a medical cannabis patient, you may have your favorite strains. Just know that it is probably not the strain itself that works so well for you. It is probably the ingredients added to the product by the processor. The lesson here is to know your ingredients inside and out.
If THC helps with your condition the most, you are going to focus on those medical cannabis products containing THC. You are going to ignore CBD products. Furthermore, you may discover that your favorite strains contain certain terpenes. Any other product with the same terpenes may work equally well.
Figuring out what works best for you is a matter of tracking each product you use, how often you use it, and how it makes you feel. Keeping track of the ingredients also tells you what to look for when you make future purchases. Do not obsess over your favorite strains. Instead, pay attention to product ingredients.