In branding, the right name can often determine the success or demise of a product. The name is sometimes created based on a core principle or marketing perspective of the company. Wrangler jeans created a connection to the outdoors, while Virgin’s name is tied to the founding of the company and the fact that all of the founders were new to business. Even Nike has a direct relation to the ancient Greek Goddess of victory. But brands like the ones above are more than a name; they are companies and product lines that were built on set of core principles and promises to create loyalty with the ultimate end user. This is no different in the cannabis marketplace. Strain names are almost always given by the person cultivating the strain. But in an exploding marketplace with thousands of fast moving growers and cultivators names like Schnazzleberry, Durban Poison, and Purple Urkle are devised to grab someone’s attention and pique their interest. And while all of this is totally in line with much of the marketing world we are accustomed to, these fancy and fun names often reveal some hidden challenges within the cannabis industry.
The Same Strain of Marijuana is Never the Same
Even though multiple cultivators will produce a Lemon Sour Diesel strain, many times there is no consistency in flavor profile, look, aroma or effect between the cannabis grown in different places by different cultivators. This causes confusion and ultimately frustration for the customer. It is not uncommon for a particular strain to have widely varying and conflicting descriptions across a collection of review sites, from Leafly to Weedmaps. In addition to the confusion, inconsistent products lead to consumer and partner distrust. Unfortunately, perfect consistency among cannabis strains is next to impossible due to the many variables that effect the characteristics of a strain. Even Grown Rogue’s cultivars that share the same name, differ in profile between our Manzanita Glen and Trails End locations; and those locations are separated by a measly 30 miles! It’s easy to see how a few cultivators that have not been able to perfect their growing process can negatively affect the perceived quality of a strain by creating a vastly inconsistent product. Also common are the instances when someone will change the name of a certain strain to a name that is trending at that given time. This type of surge marketing that capitalizes on the success of someone else’s hard work creates a demand around the wrong products. There is no ‘patent process’ that creates a database of strains based on genomic information, and thus, there are no current ways to accurately manage or track these industry problems.
How to Choose the Best Strain
Even with the industry problems, there are ways the consumer can become a more informed buyer of cannabis. The first is to approach purchasing of cannabis like you do with food and other specialty items like craft beer. Many of us look for consistency in the products we use and enjoy. Even though the recreational cannabis industry is only in its early stages, we should maintain the same expectations of quality. When you purchase cannabis, write down the strain name and notes on the characteristics like the flavor, aroma, and taste. In addition, it’s important to keep track of how it makes you feel. Not only will this allow you to determine which strains you prefer, you will have a running log that you can reference when buying the same strain from your regular and new dispensaries. If a certain strain has a different aroma, taste or makes you feel different than what you expected you now have documentation to reference when talking to the budtenders.