My delight in sampling cannabis strains takes me back to when I first discovered the many flavors of fructose candy at the 7-Eleven on 24th Street Rock Island, now the Gasland with no gas.
A while back, my therapist noted that the biggest problem medical marijuana faces is that mainstream clinicians don’t take it seriously.
And why should they, she pointed out, with all those silly names?
Bio Jesus. Magnificent Mile. Grand Doggy Purps. Strawberry Cough.
Normally, I would agree with her assessment. I understand how doctors and people in healthcare think. I see her point.
However, I was offended by the comment. Why? Well, because the vernacular of the cannabis movement is part of its appeal.
How fascinating that these wacky names have stuck for decades despite, until very recently, ever being “branded.”
They stuck because the names were clever and they conveyed important information about the strain.
Take, for example, Grand Doggy Purps. Grand Doggy Purps is akin to Grand Daddy Purple. Grand Daddy Purple is well established through the years as a bedtime strain.
But think about this. Cannabis only recently has been commercialized in the United States. Add this schizophrenic fact into the mix: It’s legally sold and yet it’s a federally illegal substance.
Yes, it’s so screwball that, as a result, it’s the wild, wild west in the cannabis industry right now.
Time to patent my Fructose Kush
So, who owns the names to the cannabis strains? For the most part, nobody.
And it’s very confusing because now there can be two or more strains with the same name, and yet one might be an indica and another a sativa. So, there are strains among strains if you’re only going by the name.
Lawyers already are hanging out shingles for cannabis companies, seeing the dustup that inevitably is upon us in terms of copyrighting strains and their names.
“The strain name can be protected by State and Federal Trademark Law,” writes the law firm Hoban & Feola LLC on the website NewCannabisVentures.com. “Those holding or owning special strains of cannabis see value in the strain name. Customers recognize the name and it may be difficult for a third party to distribute the strain without using the name. Trademarks are a way of creating a hurdle for competitors.
“There are challenges to Trademark Protection. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is notorious for rejecting trademarks for marijuana and related products. In order to obtain a federal trademark registration, actual use in interstate commerce is required. The Controlled Substances Act under federal law arguably makes the interstate distribution of marijuana illegal.”
Bio Jesus, my fave, only found in Illinois, Nevada
New strains always are emerging, many of them specially grown to treat certain conditions. Bio Jesus by Cresco, which is my favorite strain, happens to be a new strain. It only is available in Illinois and Nevada, according to Leafly.
I love that it comes with a warning – not for novice users!
So how are new strains like Bio Jesus getting their names?
Well, for now, even “new” strains being born under the regulated, commercialized cannabis industry are being named the way strains always have been named. And hallelujah, as it should be!
Strains generally are named for:
Aroma or appearance: Purple Haze, for its purple trichomes, “haze” for its psychedelic effects; Lavender Kush, for the smell of lavender from its terpenes.
Region: Durban Poison, for a port in a South African city, Durban; Poison, no doubt, for simply being wildly powerful (a daytime sativa).
Their psychedelic or medicinal effect: I can’t help but think Bio Jesus is named for its uplifting effects. When I smoke it all I can do is count my blessings and see the beauty in everything. What better name than Bio Jesus? Check out my review of Bio Jesus.
People: Charlie Sheen, for example, which Leafly describes as “Charlie Sheen is an indica-dominant hybrid, parented by Green Crack, OG Kush, and Blue Dream. These lemon-scented buds taste likewise, with a distinct undercurrent of kush. The effects are relaxing and uplifted, with a lengthy, sleepy come-down great for pain relief and insomnia.”
Leafly should have full nomenclature rights
Which brings me to the point of Leafly. Thanks to Leafly, we already have a logical directory of strains. While the names may sound nonsensical to the medical community, they do convey a strain’s properties most of the time. With Leafly, the strains are assigned colors and letters. Charlie Sheen is “Cha” in green on the Leafly “periodic table of the cannabis strains,” as I call it. Strains coded green are hybrids; indicas are purple; sativas are red.
I won’t get into what you can Google yourself on the web, but thanks to modern science (genomic sequencing) cultivators with cash presumably can create a strain, seek a patent (it’s hard to get one, but they have been granted) and call a strain all theirs.
Some big daddy cultivator could come along and copyright the strain Bio Jesus (my favorite!) for example, and then jack up the price to $12,000 a gram!
No wait, that’s the price of a pill for Harvoni, which cures Hepatitis C.
All aboard the fructose express
Let’s not fool ourselves. Someday we will long for the days when new strains got their names by stoners who plucked the forbidden plant out of the earth and gave it a taste, oblivious to how it will be packaged or who it will be marketed to.
I predict that as reefer madness continues to sweep the nation, someday the dispensary I visit will be located in the Budweiser warehouse next door to it, in fact! Check out my story about my first trip to the dispensary.
For now, and go ahead and laugh, but I feel like it is 1980. Going to the dispensary is like jumping on my Huffy to go to 7-Eleven for some of that pretty high-fructose corn syrup candy. I enjoyed throwing all the colorful candy into a jar and shaking it about. I even liked the sound of it before popping one into my mouth.
Thank you for helping me by donating a small amount toward what I do.
All the pretty packaging was delightful, as is the cannabis packaging!
People try to say cannabis and vape juice are targeted at children because of the childish names. In fact, I think they are targeted to the kid in all of us.
Like David Heitz on Facebook (@DavidHeitzHealth) and on Twitter (@DavidHeitz)