Strains – or just names?
If you were a toking up 40 years ago, there’s a good chance whatever you were smoking didn’t have a special moniker, and it probably didn’t promise to do much more than get you high – maybe even really high.
Things have definitely changed since then. Advances in cultivation technology and the introduction of new techniques have yielded a much wider range of options than the average smoker would have been able to picture in the 1970s. Today we can choose from more than 2300 strains, according to Leafly. These have fun names like “Darth Vader OG” and “Big Budda Cheese”, and boast a wide variety of special effects.
The idea that different strains produce different experiences has been challenged by some researchers, particularly those studying the different cannabinoids in marijuana that work together to produce its psychoactive effects. Their findings show differences in the potency of these compounds across different strains, but almost no variation in their ratio to each other. This seems to suggest that different kinds of weed will produce pretty much the same set of effects, even if the strength of these effects might change across the board.
Not everyone agrees with this, however. Some experts believe that cannabinoids work alongside another class of compounds to produce effects. These compounds are called terpenes, and they are responsible for ganja’s unique smell. The terpene profile is what is thought to vary from strain to strain, accounting for the differences in user experience.
Regardless of what some might say, there really does appear to be loads of marijuana strains to choose from. This is in spite of evidence suggesting that dealers aren’t always honest with their customers about what they’re selling them. Sure, there will always be knockoffs and fake labels. But legitimate strains such as “Mochi Gelato” and “Thunderbird Rose” continue to show up on the scene, and this is unlikely to end any time soon.