Indica, Sativa, Hybrid: These classifications are often shoved down a consumer’s throat and may even dictate what strain you decide to purchase. Indica is said to relax you, while sativa livens you, and hybrid is somewhere in the middle. This begs the question: Is this an old and erroneous way of thinking? If so, what else might consumers need to know to better inform their purchasing decisions?
What truly defines a strain is the environment in which it is grown. This is where genotype versus phenotype comes into play. You can change a strain’s flavor and effects while still holding onto its genetic origins. Give a clone from the same mother stock to two separate growers: If grown in different temperatures, humidity, fed different nutrients, irrigated differently, grown in different substrates, and so on, you will inevitably produce two separate strains and/or phenotypes. In fact, simply changing one growth factor could dramatically impact the final result.
The next phase in this biological system is us, humans. Through what is called the olfactory system, we use our nose to smell the weed. This can give you a huge indication as to how the weed may affect you. As you try various phenotypes/strains, you will gain awareness as to which smells give you the effects you desire. Lastly, we have receptors throughout our body: in our brain, spinal cord, and multiple peripheral organs. Once we intake cannabis, either through inhalation or ingestion, those receptors come into play. Inhalation will produce more immediate effects lasting 1-4 hours. Eating and digesting cannabis products will generally take 30-60 minutes to initiate effects, while lasting 5-24 hours or even more. With that, it should be understood that everyone processes and metabolizes compounds differently.
All in all, navigating through strains requires the user to experiment and build a knowledge base about themselves and how they react to certain cannabinoid and terpene profiles. A big challenge, here in California, is that some shops don’t have samples to show people. For those who do, the sample has a short shelf live. All of this leads to one question: How can we help customers make informed buying decisions in light of this wealth of information? Here at Blueprint, we believe it’s time to educate the consumer and continue to ask questions that inspire us and others to push the boundaries beyond the current standard.