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Unlocking the Cannabis Code: The Origins and Significance of Strain Names

Ever wondered about the significance of a strain name? The best add a touch of personality to each strain, turning them into botanical celebrities in the cannabis world. It turns out that when a breeder develops a new strain, they get the privilege of naming it. This naming process involves a blend of science, creativity, and marketing acumen. From intriguing names like Alaskan Thunderf*ck to Strawberry Cough filling menus, understanding the genetic origins of cannabis strains is crucial in finding your ideal match. Let’s explore the fascinating stories on the process and significance of strain names so we can begin unlocking the cannabis code!

How Stores Categorize Their Products

Dispensaries encounter a significant challenge in stocking an array of cannabis products. With limited shelf space and resources, they must meticulously curate their selection to cater to their clientele. To aid customers, products are generally categorized based on their “primary” characteristics, using Sativa, Hybrid, or Indica to guide consumers in a broad sense. However, delving deeper into the inventory, they are confronted with a myriad of distinct names.

In fact, according to a Los Angeles Times article, there are 218 Indica, 431 Hybrid, and 130 Sativa strains, totaling 779. However, we’ve found there are over 7,000 unique strain names and lineages, all covered within Blenddy!

How This All Begins

Behind the scenes in the colorful world of cannabis cultivation, farmers embark on a journey of selective breeding, playfully matchmaking different cannabis plants to bring forth a bouquet of unique traits.

Picture a passionate farmer with a horticultural twinkle in their eye, carefully choosing parent plants with specific qualities. They’re mixing the perfect ingredients to a secret recipe, aiming to enhance flavor, aroma, potency, with a dash of resilience.

As the seeds germinate and grow into vibrant plants, the farmer notes which plants exhibit the most desirable traits. It’s a bit of trial and error akin to nature’s own taste-testing session.

Let’s Chat With a Farmer

With all these options, farmers are always needing to create the next buzz. One can only imagine how competitive it is to reach the mind and soul of the average cannabis consumer.

I recently toured various farms and massive warehouse grow-ops, and found many strains are being created to maximize their best characteristics to help with particular ailments, while others are simply created for marketing.

One massively sized grow-op I visited in Las Vegas had me put on full clean room lab covers over my entire body, and sign a waiver stating I hadn’t been to another farm during the last 2 weeks out of fear of pollination and contamination!

I sat with Chris, their head grower, about his philosophy towards developing new strains. He was extremely honest on sharing, but wanted his grow-op to remain anonymous.

Many growers are chasing name recognition or marketing aspects to grow because name recognition and strain names can be powerful in sales. We do this to a certain degree, because we go for demand and sales. However, I also want to mix plants to see if I can get the best out of a plant. Many Indicas give you powerful hunger and munchies, what if that could be removed? Or Sativas that are just too uplifting, and knocking them down with a mild Indica. Grower “Chris”

The Art, Science and Marketing Behind Strain Naming

All to say that farmers have a very different challenge than stores. It’s the farmer’s responsibility to make great choices in product combinations so there’s less of a burden on the consumer to guess what’s going on. The name must be memorable so customers get excited and come back asking for more to build brand cache.

Naming strains fuses art, science and even marketing. Factors like prominent terpene flavors, aroma, and anticipated effects strongly influence titles bestowed by breeders and growers, while others are inspired by pop culture.

A “typical” strain name consists of three parts: the strain’s lineage, its specific characteristics, and sometimes a unique, catchy identifier. For example, “Blue Dream” is a hybrid strain, where “Blue” represents the Blueberry Indica lineage, and “Dream” signifies its dreamy, euphoric effects.

So, next time you take a puff of a uniquely named strain, remember that behind the scenes, there’s a farmer, a touch of science, and a whole lot of green love that went into creating that special cannabis experience.

Here are some other ways names come about:

1. Parental Lineage

A cannabis strain always comes from a family tree of strains, who have given birth to countless child strains through crossbreeding. The “child” strain inherits a mix of genetics, resulting in an array of flavors, scents and experiences. Tracking lineage helps predict effects. For instance, Blueberry OG, a descendent from Blueberry and OG Kush suggests sweet, relaxing properties.

2. Using Prominent Terpenes

Growers know the smells their strains give off. Terpenes provide a natural chemical “fingerprint” to classify strains. So it’s easy to give a strain a catchy name based on it’s prominent terpenes, aka the compounds behind distinctive scents and flavors. For instance, limonene lends a zesty citrus flair while myrcene delivers earthier notes. Alpha-pinene rings of pine while linalool radiates lavender. Their aromas make strains stand out and names often allude to their unique smell. Some examples:

  • The legendary Blueberry Strain, which smells like…blueberry

  • Any “diesel” strains likely emit those distinctive pungent fuel notes

  • “Cheese” varieties suggest extra funky smelling profiles

3. Anticipated Effects

It’s even more experience for the grower to know which high their plant can take majority of customers. So making this naming choice is easy. We guess it works because these are pretty famous…

  • Green Crack – Uplifting “sativa” strain (crack probably wasn’t a good choice except to this grower)

  • “Granddaddy” Purple – Relaxing indica strain

4. Genetic/Geographic Roots

Uncover the origin stories behind strain names, revealing genetic or geographic roots.

  • Thai Landrace – The nod to one of the most famous original untouched strains from Thailand

  • Afghan Kush – another landrace strain native to Afghanistan

  • OG Kush has been said to reference California’s cannabis epicenter aka Ocean Grown

5. Appearance

Strains often manifest unique appearances. From the frosty sticky trichomes, to the leaves and hairs, strains can leave their indelible mark on the consumer. Here are a few interesting names:

  • Color such as Purple Urkle or Red Headed Stranger

  • Shape such as fluffy, cone-shaped buds dubbed “Cat Piss”

6. Pop Culture Inspiration

Some strains wear names inspired by famous personalities or iconic movies.

  • such as Chong Star named after Tommy Chong

  • Movies such as Pineapple Express strain and Seth Rogan

  • Skywalker OG – Before Rey’s time, here’s some more strains influenced by the Force

7. Branding Name Recognition

As cannabis goes mainstream, branding and marketing heavily influence naming/recognition. A memorable name can instantly convey effects while tapping into trendy concepts. Consumers get drawn towards the most alluring stories and personalities.

  • Charlotte’s Web – Made famous by the struggle of Charlotte’s fight for the right to epileptic medication

  • Alaskan Thunderf*ck – Intriguing edge with a daring name to attract curiosity from thrill-seekers who seek out an amplified experience promised by something so boldly branded.

The Importance of Lab Testing

Now that you’ve seen the abundance of ways names can be anything, how can you be sure of what you’re getting? Well, before strains make their way to your local dispensary, they undergo rigorous testing. Labs check for cannabinoid levels, terpene profiles, and the presence of contaminants like pesticides or mold. Testing ensures that the cannabis you consume is safe and of the highest quality.

Understanding those lab test results is vital for informed cannabis consumption. For instance, knowing THC and CBD percentages can help you tailor your experience. Higher THC levels may offer a more potent high, while CBD can provide a calming effect. You might also gain some insight into the prominent terpenes in your strain. With this knowledge, you can more easily find your perfect high or even use this technique to balance your high.

Considering the crucial need to understand the composition of your product, one might expect comprehensive listings of compounds for all products. However, with the United States navigating a patchwork of legalization, it’s likely that current naming conventions will persist. In some states, the sale of certain strains is even denied based solely on their names. These rejections often cite concerns about names being “attractive to children” or “too recreational” for medical programs.

This evolving landscape raises the question: Will growers adapt their approach and lean towards more straightforward names, or are we in for a surge of duplicated strain releases? Will we bid farewell to the playful wild names like Bob Saget OG, Zkittlez, Barck O Bubba, Poochie Love, or Cannasutra? Only time and market dynamics will unveil the future of this intricate strain-naming game.

What to Do Now?

With countless dispensaries facing stocking constraints, finding a specific or preferred strain can be challenging. That’s why you need a solution to find the best strains you’ve tried before and master the strains you have. Blenddy allows users to track strains, activities, and lifestyles for optimal results. Its unique features, such as exploring a strain’s lineage from multiple parent generations and creating custom blends, make it a valuable ally in the complex world of strain names and characteristics.

For a comprehensive understanding of strain names, lineage, and characteristics, Blenddy stands as a reliable companion. Tailor your cannabis experience by tracking strains and your own personalized blendds! Check out this tutorial on using Blenddy to maximize your exploration of the diverse cannabis landscape. In a world where strain names are as diverse as the strains themselves, Blenddy empowers you to comfortably navigate the cannabis landscape, helping you find that ultimate relaxation or burst of creativity


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