By Amy Addams
Indica and Sativa are meaningless. Here’s why…
You can tell your great grandchildren you remember when your cannabis was categorized by Sativa, Indica or Hybrid, but, in the future, we’ll be able to choose a strain by 64% mood enhancer, 21% relaxation, 12% energy, etc. Remember this month and year because it appears that the whole simplistic overview of two main types of cannabis with a middle ground will have been a distant memory. Better still, there will come the day when you can visit your local dispensary and describe your complaint and your budtender will be able to mix up a ‘blend’ to cure what ails you. Imagine that!
Hold up, who decided the old way had to go? Let’s start with the two types were never supposed to exist; they just started, and everyone took a shine to this system and it took hold. Indica has always been known to relax the body and Sativa has always been known to energize the mind with the hybrid offering a safe bet for those who don’t want to get too much of either side, but it was pretty much bunk (no pun intended).
The reality is that there is no science to support these two types on a molecular level…AT ALL! It all started on the basis of how the plant looks, not how it performs. It was conceived by a botanist named Jean-Baptiste Pierre Lamarck (well, actually by Leonart Fuchs, Ermolao Barbaro, Carl Linne and another six people, depending on who you ask, so go with Lamarck for now) who proposed a classification system in the journal ‘Cannabinoids’ WAY back in the late 1700’s.
“Lamarck decided cannabis Indica plants were shorter and firmer stems with thick stubby leaves that grew in alternating patterns, while sativa-type plants were taller with feathery thin leaves. Lamarck said each of the two plants, because of their physical traits, had different uses and effects.“ (Marijuana News, April 21, 2020)
Lamarck came under a lot of fire for his system, yet as molecular botany, medical science got better, and did the technologies developed to study these sciences, poor old Jean-Baptiste was laughed at. Eventually, scientists agreed that there is only one species of cannabis; sativa L. Yep, deal with it, Indica is a myth. The leaves are not determiners, nor are the source of the plants.
What makes the different effects then? Believe it or don’t, researchers claim that ENVIRONMENT is what changes the effect! WHAAAAT?? I said that too! But tests have shown that factors such as temperature, light, humidity, soil nutrients, even altitude (maybe attitude, be nice to your plants) can affect how your cannabis behaves.
So now we are onto TERPENES. GAH! Do you know how many terpenes there are? Like a gazillion (okay, well, over 100, but they don’t have the simplest names like ‘Bob’, ‘Dave’ and ‘John’. Luckily, they mostly rhyme with the word ‘Terpene’, but that doesn’t make it any easier to remember them. Terpenes are the non-psychoactive organic compounds in every strain. They contribute to smell and taste, but how they help the brain react to MMJ is still a stumper for us. We’re going to figure it out though. Starting this month.
There are about 5-18 predominant terpenes that take precedence in most strains and with a little Latin, some common sense and giving yourself a second to think about it (or reading The Current Buzz, cuz we want to help), you’ll get on board with this new system in no time. You should never be ashamed or embarrassed to ask questions of your budtender either.
We found some handy cheat sheets to help you a little; just cut these bad boys out, stick ‘em in your wallet and you’ll be ready for your next dispensary run. Read on to page 6 for more on how the existing system of state-by-state legalization is wreaking havoc and why federal oversight is LONG overdue (we can’t believe we said that either).
Stick around, we got this.