Cannabis Flower Strains

2 graphics show why buying cannabis based on strain name is useless

Crystal Cox/Business Insider
  • Research company Confident Cannabis created a tool to compare strains across US medical dispensaries.
  • Researchers found labels like “indica” and “sativa” don’t match strains’ chemical makeups.
  • Three graphics show how labels can be misleading at dispensaries.

At cannabis dispensaries, products are generally advertised by plant type — indica, sativa, or hybrid — and strain name, like Green Kush or Blue Dream. Indica strains are said to have a relaxing effect and body high, sativa strains lean towards an energized high, and hybrids fall in the middle.

Searching for strains based on “indica” and “sativa” labels or by strain name is an unreliable way to find weed you consistently enjoy because of plant cross-breeding and a lack of patents in the industry, Steve Albarran, founder and CEO of research company Confident Cannabis, told Insider.

Since Confident Cannabis tests the molecular composition of 60% of all legal cannabis in the US, they have a catalog of thousands of strains a weed user may come across. In testing these strains, researchers found labels like “indica” and “sativa” don’t match up with any given strain’s chemical composition and purported effects, said Albarran.

A strain in one state and the same strain sold in another could also have completely different chemical makeups. Purple Haze in an Oregon dispensary could be indica, but Purple Haze in a California dispensary might be sativa.

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