Home Industry Why Cannabis Strain Names Are Causing Problems

Why Cannabis Strain Names Are Causing Problems

by Johnny Green

One of the most common questions we hear at Green Flower is this: “Which strain is best for my condition?”

The truth is a lot of cannabis newcomers are very confused about the different strains.

For many years cannabis consumers rarely knew what kind of cannabis they were consuming.

The cannabis industry was completely unregulated, and a lot of standards that are in place today were nonexistent in past decades.

Thanks to cannabis reform victories and the implementation of a regulated system, everything in reputable dispensaries is tested and labeled.

Anyone who has frequented one of these dispensaries knows that the options for cannabis strains are abundant.

Different strains are touted as providing different effects and wellness benefits, but how much do cannabis strain names really matter?

Why cannabis strain names are ultimately not that helpful

The amount of consumers that want to purchase specific strains has increased dramatically, to the point where if someone walks into a dispensary now and cannabis flower doesn’t have a name attached to it, it didn’t sell.

Many consumers that are looking for a particular effect are looking for particular strain names that they associate with that exact effect.

But there is a growing trend of dispensaries moving away from strain names for various reasons.

The trend is currently small, but due to the factors at play, it’s a concept that will likely catch on more as the years go by.

Below are reasons why cannabis strain names are not as helpful as some may think:

  • Cannabis quality can vary widely depending on the cultivator and garden environment
  • A particular strain at one dispensary may look completely different at another dispensary
  • Cannabis strain fraud still occurs in the industry, albeit less than in the past
  • Industry regulations require testing labeling, but not accurate strain labeling
  • Many strain names are being banned, with Oregon being a great example
  • Cannabis strain names does not convey potency levels

Just because a strain name is on the jar on the shelf at one place doesn’t mean that the terpene profile, potency, look, taste, and cannabinoid levels will be the same at other dispensaries, even though it’s all the same strain name.

This can create challenges for patients who need or desire a consistent effect.


What is a better way to classify cannabis than by strain name?

As time goes by, a heavier focus will be put on other attributes of cannabis products, ones that are more reliable and a better indicator of quality than strain names.

The measurement of two other attributes are based much more on science, and less on subjective measurements. They are:

  1. Cannabinoid testing result levels
  2. Terpene profiles

Terpenes are what give cannabis its smell, and each terpene is associated with certain effects and wellness benefits.

How much of each particular terpene are present in a given harvest, combined with how much cannabinoids are also present, are a much more reliable way for consumers to know what to expect from what they are purchasing.

Not only will strain names matter less as time goes by as terpene profiles become more common, indica and sativa designations will become less relied upon over time.

The two category indica/sativa system is very broad, and hybrid strains are very commonplace.

Consumers will want to go deeper into a particular harvest’s traits to determine desirability more and more in the future.

Ultimately cannabis strain names are fun, and will never entirely go away in the cannabis world, but they will be less relied upon as cannabis science continues to evolve and more about the plant is known.

If you want to make informed decisions when purchasing cannabis, you can learn about the different cannabinoids and terpenes, so you know exactly what you’re looking for when you view those lab test results in the dispensary.


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