Cannabis labels are wrong and need fixing. Now cannabis is legal in Canada, there are concerns what the label says may not be what its genetics are. Does it matter the cannabis species is not correct on the label? Well, yes. People want to know what they are taking. There are different effects depending on the species. This may not matter so much for those who want to get high, but it will if you take cannabis to treat a medical condition.
There are two main species of cannabis:
• Sativa is the most common and comes from countries like Mexico, Thailand and Colombia. Sativa produces an uplifting stone, and gives you energy and stimulates creativity. People may use it to treat depression, tiredness and mood disorders. • Indica. Indica is the second species and comes from India. It is often grown in Lebanon, Morocco and Lebanon. The effects of Indica are more laid back than Sativa. It is often used for medical conditions such as anxiety, sleeplessness and muscle spasms. Then there are hybrids. These are the result of crossbreeding the two together. And there are the strains which are different breeds of the same species. Breeders develop strains to give specific effects and give them fancy names. Are these names meaningless too? Yes and no. The names describe the effects of a particular strain but may or may not be consistent. It depends on where you buy it.
Cannabis labelling can be incorrect
Cannabis labels are wrong and need fixing. A Canadian study cannabis genetic structures showed cannabis labels were meaningless. Researchers studied “81 marijuana and 43 hemp samples”. They found the cannabis species on the label usually did not match the product. Cannabis species labelled Indica were not and vice versa with Sativa. Marijuana labelled as being different had the same genetics as other products. The study concluded cannabis species names did not reflect their genetic identity.
Study author, plant scientist Sean Myles said label names were meaningless. In more than a third of samples examined, cannabis strains with the same name were more closely related to strains with different names. Myles said they undertook the study to see if labels had the correct information. And they did not when it came to genetics. Consumers need to understand they cannot judge cannabis by the name on the label. Cannabis packaging tells consumers what species and strain the product is. This means different cannabis types should have different genetics. When you research cannabis online, you can find out information about different types of cannabis. Consumers use both cannabis type and strain to judge what it is they are buying.
Research shows cannabis labels are wrong and need fixing
The research shows pot labels are not reliable or accurate identifying the species. There is only a vague relationship between what people call Sativa and Indica. And Myles said strain names did not reflect the genetics of a particular strain either. This can be confusing for people who want to buy a particular type of cannabis. They may be looking for a specific high or to treat a medical condition. Different types of marijuana are suitable for different applications. You may not want to end up with an Indica species when you are feeling depressed. When labels are not correct you don’t get what you pay for. Also, different strains can be more expensive than others so you want to know what the label says is what you get.
Some label information is meaningless
According to Myles, some label information is meaningless. He made the comparison to other crops such as apples. Consumers can be certain the type of apple they buy at the grocery store when they choose a specific type. Consumers know exactly what they are buying according to the label. It always looks, smells and tastes the same. This is not the same for cannabis.
In other agricultural crops there are systems and standards in place. This ensures the product going to market is what it is being sold as to consumers. Standards for labelling cannabis ancestry are not in place yet as it is only a new legal product in Canada. So, what does this mean for consumers? It can be confusing, especially for those new to cannabis to understand what to buy. Myles said the easy answer is for consumers to use the CBD and THC content printed on labels as a guide. It is mandatory for labels to have this and independent laboratories test the cannabis to establish these levels.
Black market caused genetic cannabis confusion
So why is there this genetic cannabis confusion between the product and its label? The main reason is the black market. When growing dope in a clandestine way, genetic consistency is not at the top of a grower’s list. The last thing they worry about is whether their dope is consistent with other growers around the world. And, no-one knows who, what or where their cannabis species originated from. Growers do not care as knowing this information could land them in jail for years. This makes growers secretive so it is difficult to find out accurate information. Black market growers cannot be sure what it is they are growing unless they test it.
More cannabis confusion
Another reason for genetic confusion is the use of clones. Some growers use the seeds of the same clones for years and never know the genetics of the original clones. If they started out with clones that weren’t what they thought they were, this adds to genetic confusion. Most growers have informal growing programs and genetic testing is not common. In a black market it is profitable to tell people you have whatever is popular at the time. A while ago a popular hip-hop song mentioned a particular cannabis strain. Next every dealer was selling cannabis with that name. New cannabis users will never know the difference if cannabis labelling is wrong. They won’t get what they pay for and become confused if the effects are not what they expect. That may have been alright on the black market. Now it is legal in Canada there is a responsibility to get it right. When a label says Indica people rely on that information to be correct. What is in the package should be what the label says it is.
Not all cannabis seeds are equal
Not all cannabis seeds are equal and neither are the seed banks. BC Seeds is renowned for selling seeds that produce consistent results.
Pot companies research the genetics of their weed
Now marijuana is legal in Canada, there is a responsibility to standardize products. And, licensed growers are taking on the challenge. Some are investing in growing weed that consistently lives up to its name. Ontario’s Canopy Growth is one of those companies investing in genetics. When they started growing cannabis for the legal market, it bought seeds from small growers. Vice president Jordon Sinclair said although seed packs had the same labels, there was little similarity in the plants that grew. He said it was like buying two bottles of the same wine from different places without the same result. Both have the same labels but do not taste the same. Canopy Growth is taking steps to standardize the pot they grow. They test their crops so they know exactly what they have when they create new cannabis strains. President Mark Zekulin said the company puts a lot of effort into documenting the genetics and traits of their cannabis. He said the ultimate goal is to have breeders’ rights to protect the purity of their weed strains.
Accurate labelling matters to consumers
Accurate cannabis labelling matters to consumers. They have to trust in the information on labels. Consumers research different cannabis types on websites like Leafly. People want to know what different strain names mean. They want to know what they are buying. Leafly describes Purple Kush as a pure Indica variety from Oakland, California. It comes from a cross between Hindu Kush and Purple Afghani. “Its aroma is subtle and earthy with sweet overtones typical of Kush varieties. Blissful, long-lasting euphoria blankets the mind while physical relaxation rids the body of pain, sleeplessness, and stress.” They also describes Durban Poison as a pure Sativa variety originating from Durban, South Africa. “It has gained popularity worldwide for its sweet smell and energetic, uplifting effects. Durban Poison is the perfect strain to help you stay productive through a busy day, when exploring the outdoors, or to lend a spark of creativity.” Consumers turn to websites like Leafly to get the low down on different cannabis varieties, but they have inconsistencies too. BC Seeds has a very technical and person experience sharing feelings in their descriptions This helps visitors get access to great knowledge. It’s nice to judge the cannabis first without reading the labels and then confirming accuracy after reading the information on the labels. When it is not correct, this is disappointing. It is also confusing when there is a disconnect between expectation and the product they buy. Canopy Growth is trying to solve this problem by going back to the drawing board. They breed their own varieties giving them new names. Where the name Purple Kush can mean different things, Canopy’s Bakerstreet, derived from Hindu Kush, is a consistent product.
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