Researchers are getting closer to answering the centuries-old question of how to label cannabis varieties — a necessary step to bring the plant into mainstream agriculture.
However, with an ever-growing number of jurisdictions permitting research and creeping towards cannabis commercialization, the need for a solid taxonomy is clear. Grow shops, with their labelled wares, are providing researchers with a bounty of specimens against which to test such ‘folk taxonomies’.
This year a study of 81 commercial marijuana samples demonstrated that the advertised percentages of sativa and indica show little correlation with the genetic reality. Unlike hemp, with its genetically stable registered cultivars, “in the marijuana world we don’t have varieties or registered cultivars — we have things called strains”, says Page. Strains are informally named by breeders and are not associated with a genotype in the same way that formal varieties or cultivars are. “You need to put a name to something to [research] it accurately,” Page says.
Editor’s Note: An interesting article which, at first, seems written more for botanists. However, after reading through to the end, it does shed some light on how identification affects cannabis research, product labeling, and ultimately dosing for our patients.