Since the mid 90’s, the U.S federal government has allowed for states to implement medicinal cannabis programs. Each state has created their own set of regulatory licensing guidelines and requirements surrounding the cultivation, manufacturing, possession, use, sale, and distribution of commercial cannabis products. About a decade ago, Colorado became the first state to permit and open recreational cannabis dispensaries. The “Green Rush” that followed has resulted in a vast influx of different cannabis products and dispensaries available to the public. Establishing and adopting cannabis legislation is slow but the cannabis industry continues to grow exponentially. This incompatibility has led to questionable manufacturing practices and inconsistent quality products – raising public health and safety concerns.
The cannabis industry speaks a whole new language and many beginners find that navigating dispensary menus and understanding product labeling can be intimidating. At this time there is no mandated cannabis education for budtenders who sell cannabis products. Cannabis marketing utilizes two main terms as descriptors for all cannabis chemovars (“strains”): indica and sativa. The problem with these terms is that they (often inaccurately) describe the physical characteristics of the plant, such as leaf shape, which has nothing to do with how efficacious a chemovar might be (Lynch, 2019). Further, the widespread “strain” classification system is based on geographic origin and other meaningless descriptors (McPartland, 2018; Russo, 2019) that perpetuate the inaccurate stigma that cannabis has no medicinal value. Many cannabis scientists argue that in order to forecast the therapeutic properties of a specific cannabis product and its potential to alleviate symptoms, the chemical profile is the most useful tool (Clarke, 2013; Elzinga, 2015; Hazekamp, 2012; Small, 2015).
Similar to introducing a new medication or supplement to your routine, selecting an appropriate cannabis product to meet your goals requires education and some self experimentation. Determining which products might be best for you can be challenging. A great way to organize your cannabis experiences over time is by keeping a detailed journal of your experiences trying different cannabis products and dosages. We suggest “The Cannabis Companion: An Educational Guide & Workbook for Tracking Cannabis Chemovar Efficacy” by Jazmin Oliver.
In the next installment of this series we will dive into the different types of commercial cannabis products, discuss how they are used, and what they might be most appropriate to treat. As always, we recommend speaking with a licensed medical professional before starting a new cannabis regime. To learn more about the potential benefits of cannabinoid therapy, please reach out to a member of the Realm of Caring team!
Authored by Jazmin Oliver for Realm of Caring
- Clarke, R. C. (2013). The myth of the indica–sativa classification of cannabis. Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, 1(1), 3-4. https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/full/10.1089/can.2015.29003.ra
- Elzinga, S., Fischedick, J., Podkolinski, R., Raber, J. C., & Beletsky, A. (2015). Cannabinoids and terpenes as chemotaxonomic markers in cannabis. Natural products chemistry & research, 3(5), 1-6. https://doi.org/10.4172/2329-6836.1000181
- Hazekamp, A., & Fischedick, J. T. (2012). Cannabis-from cultivar to chemovar II: a metabolomics approach to cannabis classification. Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, 1(1), 202-215.https://doi.org/10.1002/dta.407
- Lynch, R. C. (2019). Cannabis chemovars: Terpenes and cannabinoids from different strains. ACS Omega, 4(9), 16138-16146. https://pubs.acs.org/doi/full/10.1021/acsomega.9b02256
- McPartland, J. M. (2018). Cannabis systematics at the levels of family, genus, and species. In Handbook of Cannabis (pp. 19-36). Oxford University Press. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6140263/
- Small, E. (2015). Evolution and classification of Cannabis sativa (marijuana, hemp) in relation to human utilization. Botanical Review, 81(3), 189-294. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12229-015-9157-3
- Russo, E. (2019). The Case for the Entourage Effect and Conventional Breeding of Clinical Cannabis: No “Strain,” No Gain. Front. Plant Sci., 9:1969. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2018.01969