Are Cannabis Strain Names Accurate?
I remember when I started smoking marijuana in the mid 90's marijuana strain names weren't that important. Finding marijuana was not as easy as it is now, and there certainly weren't any dispensaries, so you were just glad to get anything.
Back then, at least in my area, marijuana was lumped into one of three categories - bammer, beasters, and kill bud. There was rarely a strain name attached to the marijuana I bought back then, and even if it had a name, there was no telling that the strain name was accurate.
The first marijuana strains were 'landrace strains' or wild strains. Did cavemen or indigenous people name their strains? Who knows. Seed historians seem to agree that the first modern day marijuana seed breeding started in the 1960's. The Brotherhood of Eternal Love brought seeds to America from Afghanistan, Nepal, and other regions, and people starting breeding them.
In the early 1970's the first official seed company started in Holland - Sam Skunkman's Sacred Seeds. The art of seed breeding spread from there. There are now numerous marijuana seed companies around the world, and many, many breeders operating in the United States (some better than others!).
If you get seeds directly from a reputable seed bank, the strain names are reliable. Obviously if you get seeds straight from the breeder, the strain names are reliable. But if you score a sack from someone that is not a breeder, or not the grower, who knows if the strain name is accurate.
There is an increasing importance to market strain names to marijuana consumers these days, which is leading to a lot of inaccurate strain names out there, especially at dispensaries. If a customer walks into a dispensary and is given the choice between a well known strain name and a jar full of un-named bud, the customer is much more likely to choose the one with the popular name.
Dispensary owners know this, especially shady ones. So they will slap a name on a jar and not care less if it's accurate. All they want is to sell more bud. I had a friend work at a dispensary where the owner had a bunch of old outdoor from several harvests over the course of multiple years. The owner had no idea what strain it was, but put it on his shelves in a jar stating it was OG Kush. The nugs didn't sell at all before they were marketed as OG Kush, because after all it was old outdoor. But within a week of putting a fake name on it, all the outdoor was gone. I guarantee this is a common thing at dispensaries across the country.
To be clear, I'm not saying all dispensaries do this. But clearly some do. An example I always point out to people is when a famous person 'gets their own strain.' Is the marijuana strain something completely new? Or is it a clever dispensary owner trying to cash in on a recent event?
Case in point would be any strain with Sanjay Gupta's name on it. Sanjay Gupta aired an episode on CNN where he came out in support of medical marijuana. Within the same week people were selling strain names like 'Sanjay Gupta Kush.' This is clearly inaccurate. I don't know anyone on the planet that can breed a new seed strain, grow it from seed, harvest it, and cure it all in a week. I've seen the same thing happen with a bunch of celebrity names.
The fact of the matter is unless you get the strain from the seed breeder, a reputable seed bank, a reputable grower, or a reputable dispensary, there's simply no telling what strain you are smoking on. Base your purchases on how the strain makes you feel personally. If a strain helps alleviate your symptoms, or gives you the certain high you are looking for, then it doesn't matter what the strain name is. If you take that approach, rather than getting caught up in marketing hype, you will be a much more satisfied customer.