Cannabis Strain Names: Who Makes These Things Up?

Cannabis strains are often named after their appearance, the region they were discovered in, or the effects they produce. But who makes these names up? And where do they come from? In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the history and origins of cannabis strain names.

How are Cannabis Strains Named?

A first look at the menu at a dispensary might easily overwhelm new visitors. Some of the strange names for the numerous distinct cannabis strains can be daunting to comprehend and to be honest, some don’t sound so good. You may be forgiven for raising an eyebrow if the budtender says, “Sour Diesel tastes great,” for example. Fortunately, the tale of how we got here is fascinating, revealing the plant’s complex history and distinct biology.

cannabis plant flowering

Like with human names, some strain names are distinctive only because they have a special meaning for the breeders, while others are inherited from relatives. In other words, there is no scientific rule for breeders to follow.

The majority of cannabis names are assigned in accordance with a variety of characteristics, including the strain’s expected impact on patients, its country of origin, its unique fragrances, the mixed genetic background, or simply a breeder’s whim.

Some strains’ names simply reflect a combined genetic background. Usually, they are a combination of the parent strain names. Key Lime Mintz (a strain we frequently carry at Frost) is a fine example of this. It comes from the strains Blue Lime Pie and SinMint Cookies. Hence … Key Lime Mintz.

What Can You Infer About a Cannabis Strain from its Name?

While many strain names do come from genetics, more frequently the names are a description of the effects or taste of the strain in some way. Some strains were named for their fragrant qualities (Skunk, Lavender, Diesel), while others were given names in honor of cannabis culture figures like as Jack Herer and Willie Nelson.

Strains named for their effects include couch-locking indicas (such as Granddaddy Purple) and cerebral sativas (like Green Crack). Often, these names give some indication of the strength or intensity of the effects as well.

Some breeders also like to include geographical references in their strain names. For example, many OG Kush strains come from California’s San Fernando Valley, so you might see SFV OG or Valley OG on a dispensary menu. Other examples include NYC Diesel, Tahoe OG, and Blue Dream (a reference to the state flower of Colorado).

With all of this in mind, next time you’re looking at a menu of cannabis strains, try to think about the story behind the name. It might give you some insight into what to expect from the bud.

close-up shot of cannabis flower

Genetics of the Cannabis Plants

According to some, in order for a marijuana variety name to have any meaning, it must be connected to a gene of significance. Patients will not all appreciate every new hybrid, therefore not every name will become well-known in the ever-growing lexicon of cannabis understanding. Sticking power is driven by a distinct strain’s particular qualities, such as Sour Diesel, which has a full lemon-fuel taste and scent that satisfies its name and creates an unforgettable experience. The Sour Diesel strain was one of the most sought-after cannabis plants on the planet after its pleasant side effects were combined with its euphoric high.

The Marketing of Cannabis Strain Names

Marketing, of course, has also played a role in the naming of strains. This has become even more true as legal marijuana has spread across the world. A good strain name can be a valuable commodity. It can help attract cannabis consumers, and sometimes strains are even trademarked to keep others from using them.

One example is the Gorilla Glue strain, which was developed by GG Strains. The company has taken legal action against other companies that have tried to use the name for their own products.

The Last Toke

Our budtenders at Frost know quite a lot about our strains got their names. If you are ever curious, don’t hesitate to ask! We love talking about our favorite topic: weed!

Cannabis plant names are reflective of a long and complex history. While some names are quite simple, others can be quite complicated. With so many different variables at play, it can be difficult to know what to make of a cannabis strain name. However, with a little bit of research, you can often find out quite a bit about a particular strain from its name alone. So next time you see an intriguing strain name on a dispensary menu, take some time to look into its story. You might just be surprised by what you find out.

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