Standardizing Strain Names: Revolutionizing the Cannabis

We’ve all been there, as a novice pot smoker, you’re told that the local “Bubble Gum Kush” is the best in the northwest, or you walk into a local dispensary and the “Sweet Island Skunk” is as foreign in name and quality as the “Alaskan Thunder Fuck” on the next shelf. The system of quantifying and qualifying quality through names that have gone above and beyond the obscure and unnecessary may be coming to an end.

Currently as a consumer you have to either do your own research on the products before you purchase or do your own research on a dispensary with the most knowledgeable budtenders so that your work is minimal which often still leaves room for error. Take Bubble Gum Kush for example, of those supplying this strain name, how many are growing indoors, outdoors or under glass? Is the grower experienced? Do they use pesticides? These factors alone are a few of the many that contribute to Bubble Gum Kush-A being fundamentally different from Bubble Gum Kush-B in taste, experience and ultimately price.

Canndescent, a commercial marijuana grower in Southern California, has begun to change the name game in the cannabis world. Understanding that these eccentric names, although fun, are not at all informative and convey very little information to a consumer looking for something specific. They have created a simple “effects-based classification system.” Canndescent classifies their cannabis as Calm, Cruise, Create, Connect and Charge. With each strain the consumer is given the THC, CBD and CBN quantity as well as informative strain-specific tasting notes. For example, “Canndescent Create No 301: Focuses the mind and settles your body, making it ideal for crafts or computer work.” Yes, please.

Adrian Sedlin, the CEO of Canndescent described the process of standardization and the difficulties that were faced, “It took our cultivation team a while to cross over. Some of those guys have been growing since 1993 and they’re pretty used to their existing naming conventions.” Continuing, “we forced our people to take a test, converting the old strain names to what we were going to call them for our specific phenotypes. Now, a year and a half into our journey, we don’t even know what the original, underlying strain was.”

That last statement might be a little scary for many cannabis cultivators but others see this as an inevitable trend that more companies will soon follow. The classification system creates standards that customers will become accustomed to rely upon. In doing this, Canndescent aims to be to the cannabis industry what Apple is to the tech industry, “The way Apple made computing more intuitive and Google streamlined search, we want to democratize strain selection and provide users the opportunity to curate their life experience. Google asked, ‘What do you want to know?’ Canndescent asks, ‘How do you want to feel?’” Sedlin explained.

By acquiring feedback from consumers and continued research by its in-house PhD of Neurosciences, Canndescent has its sights set high ensuring each consumer gets the high they desire.

Luna Reyna

Luna Reyna believes in the power of journalistic activism and social responsibility. As a writer with DOPE, she tackles many social justice topics that often do not receive the coverage they deserve within the cannabis industry, as well as issues of inclusivity regarding race, gender, class and sexual orientation. Luna is also the Managing Editor for BARE Magazine, a quarterly lifestyle magazine whose motto is, "culture without censorship." She is also the founder of RIZE Entertainment, an art, entertainment and culture company that focuses solely on artists who challenge injustice and champion equality through their art.

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