Cannabis growers tend to identify their products by giving them strain names. That’s fine, except that strains can be confusing to people. A recently published study looking at 90,000 cannabis samples demonstrated as much. The study is just further evidence that medical cannabis patients should rely less on strains and more on their pharmacists.
As a general rule, we tend to oversimplify cannabis by referring to three strain categories: indica, sativa, and hybrid. We further generalize by associating indica strains with psychoactive effects, sativa with a boost of energy, and hybrid as combining elements of both. But looking at cannabis strains this way is an oversimplification of an extraordinarily complex plant and its many compounds.
Cannabinoids and Terpenes
Researchers at Colorado University Boulder decided to look into retail cannabis products and what they actually contain. They looked at a combined 90,000 samples categorized by the three primary strains, along with other names assigned by growers. These were names like Girl Scout Cookies and Blue Dream. They discovered that naming systems had very little to do with cannabinoid and terpene profiles.
The researchers noted a number of common terpene profiles found in a large number of samples. They also noted that terpenes can impact how a user’s body interacts with cannabinoids. This suggests that similar strains with different terpene profiles could result in different effects among multiple patients.
That is really what it boils down to. Medical cannabis users are relying on both cannabinoids and terpenes to get the relief they seek. But strains are different; so are derived products. A patient is not necessarily going to react the same way to every indica strain they try. Another patient may try both indica and sativa strains and find that both help them.
It is In the Details
Knowing that all indica, sativa, and hybrid strains are not identical explains why spending time with your pharmacist is so important. A product’s ability to help relieve the symptoms of your condition exists within its cannabinoids and terpenes. And all that information is in the details, not in a product’s name.
Your medical cannabis pharmacist is the most qualified to discuss cannabinoids and terpenes with you. They will know what to expect from each new product you try. And if you do your part, by tracking daily consumption and how different products make you feel, you will help your pharmacist fine-tune a cannabinoid and terpene profile unique to you.
In the meantime, avoid being roped into generalizations about strains. You don’t necessarily have to use indica because someone else does. You do not have to use sativa because one of your friends told you it would be the best strain for your condition. The truth is that you may need to try numerous strains until you hit on the right one. Your pharmacist might even recommend multiple strains.
Education Always Helps
Whenever you visit our Brigham City cannabis pharmacy or Salt Lake City cannabis pharmacy, we encourage you to spend some time speaking with the pharmacist. In between visits, educate yourself as much as possible about cannabis. Look into indica and sativa and figure out how they are different. Then do some investigation into terpenes. You might be surprised by just how important a role terpene profiles play.
Research shows that strain names may not be as important as people make them out to be. What is in a package is more important than what is on it. And from a medical standpoint, it is the cannabinoids and terpenes that truly make a difference. They are the things to pay attention to.