Once in a while at your local dispensary, you will hear clients referring to indica or sativa when choosing the marijuana products they want to purchase. These terms are mostly used to describe the characteristics and effects of cannabis buds. Products such as vapes or edibles also lay claim to these terms.
Indica-dominant strains are chill, and sativa strains are energetic. Hybrid strains represent a balance between indica and sativa. The question on people’s minds is, is the classification of the marijuana strains accurate in predicting a person’s experience after using marijuana?
According to Daniel Simone Brand, it is not always accurate classifying weed with people’s experiences. Discussed below is the reason why indica, sativa, and hybrid classification is not reliable and what is replacing them.
- Origin of Indica and Sativa
Back in the 1700s, the French biologist Jean Baptiste Lamarck classified weed into cannabis sativa and cannabis indica. According to Lamarck, a cannabis sativa plant was tall with light-colored, pointy shaped leaves while the cannabis indica plant was short with broader, dark-colored leaves.
In those centuries, there were no labs for in-depth testing, but the THC levels were much lower those days than today, and the terpene content could not be determined.
In an interview with HelloMD, Dr. Patricia Frye said that the 18th-century marijuana classification was based on the outward appearance of the crop, not on its genes or effects on the person using. Therefore labeling a plant indica or sativa does not correlate with their impact today.
- Cannabinoid Compounds of Cannabis
What matters in a marijuana strain is the level of CBD, THC, and the ratios between them. THC is the psychoactive compound of marijuana responsible for giving a high effect. It can be used medically to treat cancer, chronic pain, and insomnia. CBD is the non-psychoactive compound of cannabis. It can be used to manage various illnesses, such as seizures, anxiety, and inflammation. Recreational consumers can use both THC and CBD products in varying ratios, depending on what they want to achieve.
According to Dr. Frye, consumers should be careful not to overdose on marijuana as it can result in worse symptoms such as paranoia and panic attacks.
Marijuana users are also interested in other cannabinoids such as THCV, CBG, and CBN because of their healing effects. Basing one’s choice on indica or sativa classifications is therefore inadequate.
- Terpene Composition
Terpenes influence the taste and the aroma of a strain. The most common types of terpenes found in weed are Caryophyllene, myrcene, limonene, linalool, Pinene, and terpinolene. Each of them has unique characteristics.
According to Dr. Frye, strains containing Myrcene and linalool are best for inducing sleep; limonene, and caryophyllene are suitable for pain relief, while asthmatic patients can use pinene for bronchodilation and anti-inflammatory effects.
According to Alec Dixon, the co-founder, and director of client relations at SC Labs, consumers should be trained to develop their nose to identify potent strains instead of relying on a marijuana strain’s name. He adds that due to the advancements in the cannabis sector, consumers can now rely on researched data instead of hearsay.
Such information may explain why cannabis companies like Cannabis Strategic Ventures Inc. (OTCQB: NUGS) and Canopy Rivers Inc. (TSX: RIV) (OTC: CNPOF) probably insist that marijuana dispensaries have a budtender to explain the attributes of each product before customers or patients buy it.
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