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You Can’t Judge a Strain by Its Name

May 12, 2022 08:00 am ET
You Can’t Judge a Strain by Its Name

Cannabis strains have a multitude of different names. The names are a way to help identify different varieties of cannabis genetics. The name of a specific line of cannabis genetics should help identify the strain for consumers and growers alike. However, this isn’t necessarily true anymore. We live in an era where people will call something anything they want. Thankfully, science is catching up and genetic tools are becoming available to help distinguish the reliability and authenticity of cannabis genetics.

Cannabis genetics are created by mixing one strain or crossing one strain with another. In many instances, multiple strains are crossed with each other to create a certain line of genetics. Another way cannabis genetics evolve is through a process in which a plant mutates from its original genetics on its own. This is known as a phenotype. Growers and breeders will “pheno hunt” in search of that unique variety of cannabis and then try to stabilize it into a genetic line.

Cannabis strains these days have some wild names. Crouching Tiger Hidden Alien, Purple Monkey Balls, Dirty Sprite Breath, Alaskan Thunder F@#&, and Slap ‘N Tickle are just a few of them. Then you have more commonly known cannabis strains that have won awards and are sought after in dispensaries across the United States and other places where cannabis is legal. Cannabis strains such as Blue Dream, GG #4, Mac1, Sour Diesel, ChemDawg, OG Kush, Super Silver Haze and Skunk are just a few that have become staples for cannabis consumers. Unfortunately, what’s in a strain cannot be judged by its name alone.

Cannabis Strain Names and Scent: What is a Better Indication of Quality?

Today, much of the flower you find in dispensaries tastes like it’s been doused with non-cannabis terpenes. There are many companies out there that offer plant-derived terpenes with names such as Sour Diesel, Orange Kush, and more. These terpene concoctions often smell distinctively different than true cannabis terpenes. Scent, though at times subjective or misleading, can be a powerful indicator of the quality or specific type of flower that you have.

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An individual can learn to identify certain scents associated with cannabis that can tip them off to the quality strain or variety that they’re after. Part of the reason for cannabis names not having the same quality strain to strain comes down to the cultivator.

Cultivators that don’t follow good practices may grab a cannabis strain without the proper knowledge and skills producing flower that is poor quality. Another part of the problem in finding quality cannabis is genetics. Too many people grab cannabis seeds, cultivate them, and call it whatever they want, making finding quality product even more difficult for consumers.

What to Look For Outside a Cannabis Strain Name

Learning to identify cannabis that is high in quality is equally important. Buds should be dense but not super compressed or overly tight. Buds should have great trichome coverage and good colors. Rich green, red, orange, pink, purple, and even white color tones are good indicators of quality cannabis.

Excessive trichome coverage isn’t always a sign that cannabis will be good. Thanks to plant growth regulators, also known as PGRs, some cannabis can look extremely good to the eye yet lack all qualities necessary to make it effective. Buds will be covered in trichomes and have an abundance of red hairs. Yet, when consumed, they barely have any effect and are very tasteless. Sometimes they will even burn harsh and hot due to the PGRs added to them during their cultivation.

These days a cannabis strain’s name doesn’t mean much unless it is flowered to perfection, from a true lineage. I recently had the pleasure of growing some Air Force One and Trump 1000 at home. This was a beyond exceptional experience, because these strains tasted unlike anything I have ever purchased on the legal market.

Just because authentic cannabis strains are hard to find, it doesn’t mean that they don’t exist. The next time you go to a dispensary to pick out your favorite strain, remember to consider more than the strain name. Let your senses  lead the way. Inspect cannabis strains visually for good colors and trichome coverage and take scent into account.

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