What’s in a Strain Name?

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A bud by any other name would smell as sweet.

Marijuana strains have some of the most colorful names you can find. Purple Urkle, Green Crack, Alaska Thunderf&%$…, you get the idea. Growers have taken a lighthearted approach to naming strains. After all, marijuana is fun, right?

But what does a serious marijuana patient make out of names like “Hogs Breath” or “Buddha’s Sister?” Marijuana can help a variety of ailments ranging from chronic pain to anxiety. Unfortunately, it is not one size fits all. Different strains can impact patients in very different ways. Surely there has to be a way to access safe medicine that does not rely on goofy names.


Canndescent, a highly regarded California cannabis producer, announced a plan to ditch the nonsensical names of most strains. The new categories will utilize descriptions such as “Calm” or “Create.” Canndescent’s system will also classify strains based on color, effect, scientific data, and taste.

For example, the strain description for Calm No. 105 claims it will “lull the mind and body into a gratifying sleep, waking you up alert for the next day,” according to a press release from Canndescent. The strain Create No. 301 “focuses your mind and settles your body, so it’s ideal for crafts or computer work.”

Patients do not always have the time or the endurance to self-test strains and their effects. “You shouldn’t need to bio-hack your body through a periodic table of ominous strains like Durban Poison and Trainwreck just to buy some cannabis,” said Canndescent’s CEO, Adrian Sedlin. “The way Apple made computing more intuitive and Google streamlined search, we want to simplify strain selection and provide users the opportunity to curate their life experience.”

Even if a patient finds a winning strain through the name game, there is no guarantee the strain will produce a consistent effect. “Given that hundreds of growers cultivate the same strain using different phenotypes, grow mediums, nutrients, environments, techniques, and even harmful pesticides, the same strain can produce wildly different effects; names have lost their meaning as a result,” said Rick Fisher, Canndescent’s EVP of Operations.