[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Super Silver Haze; Hawaiian Snow, Lemon Skunk; Master Kush, Cupid. No, that isn’t some bizarre, psychedelic haiku; rather, those are all names of cannabis varieties. You don’t have to be a frequent user to know that marijuana is usually labeled in a variety of different types, known as “strains”, but have you ever wondered what actually makes each strain different? According to recent research from Dalhousie University, the differences aren’t as taxonomically accurate as you might imagine.

What We Know

The conventional knowledge says that the various strains of marijuana are ultimately different hybridizations of C. indica and C. sativa. For a detailed description of the differences between indica versus sativa, check out our earlier post, but here’s a quick breakdown: indica grows in short bushes with wide, dark leaves and causes a sedative effect on users, while sativa grows as taller trees with narrow, brighter leaves, causing a stimulatory effect. The Dalhousie research found that indica and sativa are, in fact, substantially genetically different from one another. However, the naming conventions of strains are where problems arise.

What We Don’t Know

Upon sequencing the genetic codes of 81 strains of marijuana, the researchers found that there is very little certainty when it comes to non-medical strains. Strains, since they are essentially different percentage mixes of indica and sativa genes, are often labeled with their percentage sativa (i.e. the percentage of their genome from sativa versus indica). But these labels ultimately mean little: for instance, a strain known as Jamaican Lambs Bread purports to be 100% sativa, but was actually 98% similar to a strain of pure indica from Afghanistan. The researchers even found that 35% of the samples they studied were more genetically similar to samples with different strain names than to samples with identical names.

What It Means for Medical Cannabis Users

Fortunately, the reasons behind these nomenclature problems are eliminated in the case of legitimate medical cannabis production. The researchers concluded that the naming issues stem from a combination of non-existent regulation (because recreational marijuana has been illicit for decades) and incorrect growing practices. Because cannabis is dioecious, one can only grow genetically identical strains by cloning from a preexisting plant, but many producers instead grow new plants from seed, introducing genetic dissimilarities. Medical cannabis is grown legally and under regulation, phasing out any uncertainties you might have.

For more information on medical cannabis in Canada, and to find out whether you qualify, look to the experienced team at CannaConnect.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]