Like other medical fields, the medical marijuana industry is littered with terminology that can overwhelm new patients; the multitude of unique strain names can confuse even the center owners.
Yet, unlike other medical fields, someone in the MMJ industry obviously has a sense of humor: Island Sweet Skunk, Northern Lights, Big Bud, Sour Diesel and Chem Dawg are all names of strains that can be found in almost any center.
While some names exist solely as clever puns, others refer back to parent strains that have led to their creation. Matt Wasson from Green Earth Wellness Center points out some examples: White Russian is widely known as the blending of AK-47 and White Widow; a lesser-known blend is Corkle, of Purple Urkle and Space Queen.
The strangest name? Bubbleberry Green Crack.
"Bubble Gum was crossed with Blueberry ... then they took the Bubbleberry and crossed it with Green Crack," Wasson explains. "It's just neverending. ... There are so many different strains out now since there's been such a huge boom. They'll have Jack Hair and then the Jack Hair strain will be crossed with different things to be Jack Frost, Jack the Ripper, Jackie O." The list goes on.
As for the numbers included in some strain names, Wasson says it denotes different blends. "It's just what different growers put different crossers in there."
On top of hybrids, there's sativa versus indica. Indica strains tend to be better for pain but can leave patients feeling a little too relaxed, whereas sativas are lighter and better for depression as well as increasing appetite. Blends, says Wasson, usually combine the best effects of both types for patients.
In addition, there are families of strains, all of which have their own histories and characteristics. Wasson says most Skunk strains originated from islands like Hawaii; most Diesel strains from Colorado's Chem Dawg; and the Kush family originated from the Afghan strains grown in the mountains of, yes, Afghanistan.
Of course, caveat emptor. "That doesn't mean that anybody who's selling an Afghan has anything from Afghanistan — that's simply not true," Wasson warns. "It's a strain that is grown here, but originated there."
With so many options, which strains can be commonly found in Colorado Springs?
"Pretty much everyone has got a Blueberry or AK-47," Wasson says. Sour Diesel is another popular one as well.
When it comes to edibles, though, be ready to ask questions. The dosage for a candy bar may say 1 gram, but the effects will vary depending on whether it's an indica, sativa or blend. In addition, some centers just combine everything they have to spare in their edibles, meaning the medication will work differently every time. Wasson says patients should make sure their centers are labeling each edible with a strain name, or at least whether it was made with a sativa, indica or blend.
"There [are] so many different types. It's hard to keep track of," says Wasson.
His advice for overwhelmed patients searching for proper medication: Find an MMJ center full of experts on what's being offered — as well as the effects of each of its strains — so it can match a patient's symptoms with the correct medication. With so many strain and center options available in Colorado Springs, hurting folks should have no problem finding exactly what they need, whether it's Church or Purple Haze.