Do you really know what’s in your bowl? The next time you stop in at your local dispensary, take a look for the following top selling strains in Colorado: Blue Dream, Durban Poison, Sour Diesel, Golden Goat, Flo, Girl Scout Cookies, Mob Boss, Northern Lights, Green Crack and Banana Kush. If you buy an 1/8th of Blue Dream from five different dispensaries, do you think they would share the same characteristics? Will they have similar bud structure, flavor profile, and cannabinoid breakdown? These characteristics, greatly effect the recreational and medicinal properties of your smoke. Understanding where your strains are coming from, and what characteristics you should be looking for, is what we call “grading genetic integrity” It is a skill that every cannabis consumer needs to develop, so you can know what you smoke!
what is “genetic integrity”? Genetic integrity means that you are entitled to an accurate, verified strain name, a reputable genetic history, and a consistent experience in effect, flavor, and medicinal value. Unfortunately, because of a lack of education and transparency, dispensaries and consumers are often unaware that the strain they think they are purchasing is actually something different. There are no current checks and balances in the cannabis industry to ensure that “blue dream” is in fact, a genetically true version of blue dream at each location. This will continue to be the case unless we demand change. The best thing that we can do as cultivators and retailers is to be transparent about what we grow, how we grow it, and steward the genetic legacy of this amazing plant.
This is not just a Colorado issue, it is a nationwide cannabis issue. The industry has lost sight of what it means to be a responsible grower. In fact, upon several discussions with respectable European breeders it is the shared belief that the U.S market continues to grow with a lack of concern towards strain origin or traceability of breeding line. Many reputable American growers struggle to keep their name and reputation behind the classic strains they created. Yet we see examples of licensed grows and dispensaries falsely selling strains under critically-acclaimed names based only upon similarities in flavor and effect, in order to ensure higher sales. Who do you trust? At the end of the day, the breeder, and cultivator of a strain have a responsibility to the retailer and consumer to verify and communicate what they are growing.
So what can we do? The industry must turn to science to greater understand and trace the lineages of the cannabis strains we love to grow and smoke. Fortunately, new resources are coming online every day, such as Phylos Bioscience. Phylos is leading the cannabis industry in Genomic Profiling. What is a Genome Test and why does it matter? Upon submitting a plant material sample, Phylos can then sequence a comprehensive genetic profile of a strain including closest relatives, clonal relationships, uniqueness score, population origin, variation, and distant cultivars. These results are then populated in the Phylos Galaxy, which is a “living” digital genetic report on cannabis in the world. This means that we can now verify if your local dispensary is actually selling you a true Blue Dream or Sour Diesel, and not some fake. If breeders, growers, scientists, and consumers work together we can ensure transparency from seed to sale. These collaborations will allow growers to work with breeders on creating new strains with verified parents, bringing more innovation and choice to consumers.
At the end of the day, who has the most power to influence this necessary change in the cannabis market? You do. The consumer has the power to influence your local retailer. It’s time to demand cannabis with genetic integrity. You deserve to know what’s in your bowl!