The Strain Name Game
Before the dispensary circus of ‘09 in Colorado, black-market growers, and dealers were coming up with strain names as fast as they could counterfeit big name brands. Your dealer would explain to you the amazingness of his primo dankness through the strain name, because most dealers aren’t sophisticated enough to go into further details.
Mr. Dealer might ask you, “You know AK-47 homie? Well this is AK-48! What do you know about weed a step better than the best?” Yes, there is really a strain called AK-48. Kat Williams made fun of the name bragging game during one of his skits: “This shit right here. This-this shit right here…this is kripta chrona-canalike! And every 2 weeks the shit gets stronger and stronger.” Every dealer wants you to think their weed is better so you buy their product and not the next guy’s.
I remember picking up some weed from a friend and jumping for joy when he had my favorite type on deck: Island Sweet Skunk. When my hook said he had ISS, he had ISS. On the other hand, when I was buying pounds off the street for a legal dispensary in 2009, pre-regulation, I had a harder time finding the real stuff. I’d buy wholesale bud and then retail it to medical marijuana patients (that’s how it worked back then). Four different dealers brought me 4 different types of weed that were all called ISS, or Blueberry that didn’t smell like blueberry, or AK47 that was long and sativa like and not large and AK-like at all.
Do people really make up strains names just to push product? YES! I’m guilty of it myself. Often times a pound of bud came without a name! Well we can’t sell weed without a creative name, can we? The first strain I named in the shop was “Pudytang”, and that sold out quick. I printed out a blue and gold label (inspired by our local basketball team) and slapped a “Denver Nuggs” label on the jar.
My favorite name I appointed to a jar full of sad looking dope was, “Sum-ah-dat.” The first guy that popped in the shop that morning exploded like a cartoon. He forcefully pointed to the jar with a lit-up smile and said, “Oh shit! Haha! Give me Sum-ah-dat!!!!” It was perfect. Clearly this continues in the legal market today.
So how much can you trust someone who says they have a certain variety when it looks and smells completely different from what you’ve experienced before? Cannabis morphology is more complex than counterfeit sunglasses by far. Many books, apps, and websites help people understand strains by hosting photos of the strains uploaded by users. You can easily find hundreds of types of cannabis carrying the same brand names, yet they are completely different from each other. Why? Because it’s not the same product, just the same brand name. This is the strain name dilemma we face in the cannabis market today. Hey app and online strain detection companies…you’re not helping our industry progress, you are making things harder for patients and customers to understand!
At the end of the day, whether it’s from the black market or a neighborhood dispensary, you can’t trust strain names all the time. So, what does one do about this dilemma? The easy answer is to stop caring about the strain name all together. Instead, what you should care about is how the product you encounter will affect you. Understanding this gives you ultimate control over your smoking experience. There is technique that allows anyone to see and smell the difference between indica and sativa.
This technique is called Interpening, and it’s the solution to the strain name dilemma. Interpening is a method used to identify and understand cannabis variety, based on interpreting the plant’s terpenes and flower structure. Scientifically speaking, terpenes are evaporating molecular hydrocarbon chains that produce smell. Terpenes produce aromas that distinguish the cannabis plant’s variety. Together, identifying both terpenes and flower structure will help you predict cannabis variety and the effect that you can expect the cannabis to have on you. Interpening also teaches how to assess the quality of the flower, allowing a user to determine whether it is an unacceptable, acceptable, or highest quality product.