The name of a cannabis strain isn't as important as you might think

Published Aug 6, 2020 01:00 p.m. ET
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There are currently over 3000 different strains of weed that have been documented to date, and there are likely thousands more that aren’t included in this calculation due to legalities or accidental creations. Each one is given its own unique name by its creators, and in some cases, the name makes it big, becoming a highly sought after breed due to praise from consumers and cultivators who spread the good word, but how much can strain names really tell you?

Do strain names tell you anything about the smell?

A lot of people use the names of different strains of weed to predict the smell that they might expect to experience while using it, but this is only true in certain cases, and since the perception of smell varies from one person to the next, it is not uncommon for consumers to report completely different scents. A good example of this is with Pineapple Express, a strain that is often associated with a tropical pineapple smell due to the name, but others might not notice any citrus when they use it, and there is no way to tell what result you will get until you try it.

What about the taste?

The taste that you experience from anyone strain comes from the terpenes that are within it, and much like with smells, the taste is a very personal thing, and one person's opinion might not be the same as the next. However, if you don’t know the terpene profile of the strain and you’re just going off of the revealing nature of a name, then you might not learn anything from its title alone, which is a good thing. After all, Sharksbreath certainly doesn’t taste like freshly exhaled shark air, and Blueberry Cheesecake has a strong fruity taste, but it definitely doesn't taste like cake.

The effects?

We hear strain names like Chemo or Crystal Coma, and the first thing that comes to mind is an intense bout of effects that may keep you glued to your couch, but that isn’t very often the case. In fact, Blue Dream, one of the most popular weed strains on the market, is well known to produce the opposite type of effects. So, while it’s nice to think that the names of different strains of weed might reveal what you can expect them to feel like, if you rely on it, you may end up sorely disappointed.

Are some weed strains more potent than others

Yes, some strains are more potent than others, but smoking a strain like Outer Space, which is known to produce more intense psychoactive effects, isn’t necessarily going to guarantee you those results, and that is because what matters the most, is how the plants are cared for while they grow and the methods of curing used by the producer.

Though we like to assume that weed strains that are advertised as such would give us a stellar high, the amounts that you see listed beside seeds and even shelf stocked cannabis products isn’t always reliable, because, for the most part, it’s a best-guess scenario. Cannabis seeds guarantee none of this, as the ranges provided are typically the best results that the creators and cultivators have experienced.

If you don’t treat the plant well, or if it gets damaged along the way or not quite enough light exposure, the cannabinoid production can be greatly hindered, which will ultimately lead to a plant that isn’t as potent, regardless of its name. So, while yes, certain weed strains are going to be more likely to produce stronger effects, this is a characteristic that cannot be determined by strain names alone.

How to use strain names to your benefit

You might have read all of this and wondered if there is any good reason to familiarize yourself with different strains of weed, seeing as in the end, it might not make any difference anyway, but strain names can at least give you a starting base when you’re searching for a type that does something specific. There are no direct clues in the names themselves, but they can be useful tools for research, which can open a window into other cannabis consumers and grower's reviews of what each one may be capable of.

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