Article: Indica and sativa labels are largely meaningless when it comes to cannabis complexities

The Conversation reports

ndica and sativa are commonly used to describe cannabis strains, but what’s the difference between these two labels?

Almost half of all Canadians have tried cannabis at some point in their lives. If you’re one of them, you’ve probably been confronted with the choice between buying strains labelled indica or sativa.

Some people are adamant that indica strains are sedative with earthy aromas. In contrast, sativa strains are supposedly energizing with sweet aromas. However, the extent to which indica and sativa labels actually capture meaningful information is unclear.

Detailed strain analyses

Our team of researchers at Dalhousie University worked with Bedrocan International, a Dutch medical cannabis company, to study hundreds of cannabis strains with indica and sativa labels. We measured the chemical compounds produced by each strain. This included not only the major psychoactive cannabinoids like THC and CBD but also the terpenes that give cannabis its distinctive aromas. We also measured the genetic profiles and were then able to examine the chemical and genetic differences between strains.

If labels describing cannabis strains do in fact represent two distinct groups of cannabis, then the differences should be reflected by chemical and genetic differences. Our study, published in Nature Plants, found that indica and sativa labels are largely meaningless.

It was frequently the case that strains labelled indica were just as closely related to strains labelled sativa as they were to other strains labelled indica.

An example that illustrates the inconsistent use of these labels is that in 1999, a cannabis strain named “AK 47” won the Sativa Cup in the Cannabis Cup. The same strain went on to win the Indica Cup in the same competition four years later.

Not only did we find that indica/sativa labelling is misleading, but so are the names given to strains. For example, we found that two strains both named “OG Kush” were more similar to other strains with different names than they were to one another. Overall, strain names are often not reliable indicators of a plant’s genetic identity and chemical profile.

Read  more. https://theconversation.com/indica-and-sativa-labels-are-largely-meaningless-when-it-comes-to-cannabis-complexities-169998