Expert Says Marijuana Strain Names Are Meaningful

A foremost cannabis expert, who held a federal government exemption to grow any kind of cannabis he wanted, claims marihuana strain names are meaningful. Bud name’s provide people an opportunity to identify cannabis characteristics that should be associated with a particular kind of pot. Recent reports by LA Weekly stating Marijuana Strains Like OG Kush Are Meaningless, Expert Says are schwag and conducted with questionable science. I’m an expert having reviewed, photographed and in some cases grown some of the 150 cannabis strains in Marijuana Smoker’s Guidebook. Growers will tell you, cannabis has distinct characteristics that make strains unique. Unfortunately prohibition plays a tremendous role in distorting everything – especially cannabis science. PhD chemist Jeffery Raber sounds like a smart fellow, but he doesn’t take into account prohibition in his thesis. Many of his discoveries can be easily explained. Prohibition is hard to account for scientifically, unless it’s counting people in prison. Raber argues and I do too by the way, “what’s being sold as OG Kush in one shop could be something completely different in another.” There are plenty of possibilities, prohibition being one, that Raber discovered these differences. The science is easy, you don’t need a PhD from USC to do your own strain study. Raber purchased different kinds of OG Kush strains from various California dispensaries. Naturally a nug novice would think they would all be similar – after all they’re labeled OG Kush. However, you don’t need a PhD to know what happened next, readers of Marijuana Smoker’s Guidebook know, “Every dealer has it [OG Kush] even when they don’t.” In world when every brand faces fakery, even OG Kush has its knockoffs. Prohibition ensures pot shops and dealers aren’t beholden to anyone when it comes to their labeling and for that matter neither are marijuana seed companies. Mislabeling is not happening everywhere, but it is a seedy industry. There’s a percentage of med pot on dispensary shelves knowingly or not mislabeled. Then there is this even bigger possibility. An easy Seed Finder search turns up eight different types of OG Kush being offered by cannabis seed breeders. At the very least a dispensary could offer eight different types of OG from reputable seed breeders. Growing up in the Garden City I learned all about grapes. There are several varieties of grapes, but there are even more wineries to varieties. Much like a winery, dispensaries and seed breeders are offering their take on OG Kush. Taking a wine enthusiasts approach to cannabis opens our eyes to marijuana strains in ways that can only be documented through human skills. These skills are easily developed and honed over time by toking (and growing) a variety of cannabis. Bubba Kush

Only the most popular of pot will achieve multiple knock off status. Granted this confuses the marketplace and people like Raber, but there are ways to overcome this shortcoming. By becoming an educated cannabis enthusiast you will learn what to expect from something labeled OG Kush, Trainwreck, LA Confidential or Chocolope. An in the known enthusiasts seeks out specifics that should be found in the strain. Cannabis consumers can educate themselves about what to expect from a strain labeled OG Kush, LA Confidential or Exodus Cheese. There are numerous marijuana review sites, people documenting their tokes on Tumblr and YouTube and my own guidebook. All three marijuana strains have distinct aromas, effects, and flavors that people would be able to tell and experience the difference. Applying science to strain sampling is akin to applying science to wine sampling. It doesn’t work because there are some things science can’t measure and toking is one of them. Naturally, you’re going to find tremendous amount of differences with a strain like OG Kush and it isn’t even the most replicated – Skunk #1 and White Widow have even more versions. Raber should find less retail difference from strains that do not have multiple seed breeder offerings. The strain hunt would be way more challenging. A person would have to purchase, an LA Confidential at one place, document it, then find an LA Confidential at another dispensary and do the same. Repeat. They should find similarities and a few subtle differences based on grower technique, medium and nutes. Give two different growers the same clones and they’ll come back with slightly different results. Marijuana strains may not be distinguishable using Raber’s science, but then again he’s a chemist and the study of plants is botany.

Matt Mernagh is a regular contributor to Cannabis Culture, his debut Marijuana Smoker’s Guidebook The Easy Way To Identify and Enjoy Marijuana Strains is available from Amazon, iTunes and your favorite cannabis culture shop.

Matt Mernagh
Matt Mernagh

Matt Mernagh is author of Marijuana Smoker's Guidebook The Easy Way To Identify and Enjoy Marijuana Strains ( by Green Candy Press and hosts a weekly weedy webcast The Menahuana Zone on Pot.TV every Tuesday. The Mernagh Ruling is a test case of Canada's cannabis laws and was spearheaded by Mernagh, lawyer Paul Lewin and 22 witnesses from across Canada.