The days of outdated cannabis classification systems are finally coming to an end. For years the industry has been using an outdated and inaccurate cannabis classification system, this led to the market blurring the lines between quality and craft cannabis which left customers and cultivators with no true direction as to how to identify the range and spectrum of the medicinal possibilities contained within cannabis. This article will talk about how Black Tie CBD is throwing out the old idea of a classification system and changing the game with this new revolutionary system introduced by SC Labs:
Cannabis experts consider Indica, Sativa, and Hybrid to be the three main subspecies. This has been the way to categorize strains since the 18th century which was an effective system for its time, the issue arises when people use the THC potency of strains to determine superiority. When using the old method to measure potency and the effects it is simply inaccurate and outdated. This is especially true when accurate labels are not provided for customers nor budtenders. The words “Indica” and “Sativa” were introduced in the 18th century as a way to describe the different species of cannabis, but with the development of modern technology and research it has led to more information to prove this to be only scratching the surface at the different species and strains of cannabis.
For years the subspecies of Cannabis have been described like this, let’s start with Sativa.
Sativa is notoriously known for being uplifting and said to spark creativity, it is said to also give a “mind high” and overall just enhance productivity. The Sativa plant is known to radiate a sweet, fruity or spicy note. The problem with this general ‘idea’ of what Sativa is and what it does is that there is no true spectrum with an understandable visual for growers and customers to be able to understand easily. There’s no real way to decipher the true effects of Sativa, therefore leaving a gray area in this regard. Unfortunately, the downside to Sativa plants is that they take longer to grow and produce less medicine (flowers) than Indica. Now, let’s talk about Indica, while Indica may be known for producing more and growing quicker it is not excluded from the gray area that exists due to adverse effects. Sativa is said to give more of a “mind high” whereas Indica is said to have more body-centered effects, commonly referred to as a “ body high”. Indica is said to enhance physical sensations in the sense of a “body high” but unfortunately still cannot be accurately measured which is where the gray area presents itself. The typical example of Cannabis Indica is a more compact, thick-stemmed bush than its cousins, usually reaching a height of fewer than two meters. Most Indicas are supposedly a rich source of the cannabinoids THC, CBD, and CBN. While Cannabis Sativa often produces a higher proportion of THC than its other cannabinoids, Cannabis Indica usually contains significant levels of all three. Lastly, let’s get into Hybrid strains. When thinking of a Hybrid you would probably think of a Cannabis plant with both Indica and Sativa characteristics alike. But because Cannabis has been cultivated for many centuries, most modern strains are hybrid strains. Pure Sativa and pure Indica strains are rare, most cannabis that you’ll be able to find these days is a hybrid as a result of modern technological advances. While Hybrid strains typically develop either Sativa-dominant, Indica-dominant, or evenly balanced phenotypes, strain descriptions usually list it that way or display the split as a percentage. With the old system terms like Indica and Sativa strains were most useful for cultivators in determining growth characteristics like how tall plants will grow or how long their flowering cycle will be. But effects share no apparent connection with today’s cannabis plants’ physical structure, hence why the classic classification system is largely outdated.
Here is why this is a problem:
According to SC labs (SC Labs is a company that offers comprehensive solutions for cannabis and hemp testing) co-founder, Josh Wurzer, “The problem is that there is little standardization when it comes to defining and determining terpenes”. Classification of strains these days no longer only comes down to the strain considering pure Indica and Sativa is so rare, which is why the classic classification system is completely outdated and why the new system is such a game changer. Because cannabis is a widely used substance increasingly being legalized for medicinal and recreational use, Cannabis’s genetic and chemical variation must be accurately quantified and communicated. Using strain labels like Sativa and Indica are used to describe a cultivar’s morphology, aromas and/or psychoactive effects. However, whether these labels capture meaningful information about Cannabis’s genetic and chemical variation is incredibly unclear. This leaves room for inaccuracy and uncertainty in a world growing in popularity faster than any other industry.
What is the solution?
The solution is simple; replace the three vague classes(Indica, Sativa, and Hybrid) with six elaborate and detailed classifications instead. On February 16th, – SC Laboratories, Inc., (SC Labs) announced that it has licensed Napro Research LLC’s proprietary data visualization tool PhytoFacts®. Clients testing cannabis through the lab will now have access to this game-changing reporting format and algorithm that provides a visual profile of each strain’s chemical makeup. This new report format is intuitive and helps budtenders and consumers identify the right strain for their desired effect. As mentioned above, the terpene profile proves to be far more important than the breed of cannabis, which means that companies like SC Labs are putting an end to the days of simply seeking out the highest THC percentage. Science has converged to finally prove that terpenes are at the root of the entourage effect that consumers are seeking.
What are the new classes?
- ‘Jacks + Haze’ Class
- Mostly ‘Sativa’-leaning varietals
- Tasting notes – Fruity, Pinesol, Haze
- Effects – Energizing, Cerebral, Artistically Inspiring
- Common Cultivars – Classic Trainwreck, Jack Herer, Durban Poison, Super Lemon Haze
- Terpenes Profile: Terpinolene, Caryophyllene, Myrcene
- ‘Sweets + Dreams’ Class
- Mostly ‘Indica’-leaning varietals
- Tasting Notes – Fruity, Sweet, Woody, Hoppy, Herbaceous
- Effects – Relaxation, Couch Lock, Analgesic
- Common Cultivars – Blue Dream, Tangie, Forbidden Fruit, Grandaddy Purple, Purple Urkel, Grape Ape, Cherry AK, God’s Gift, Purple Punch
- Terpenes Profile: Myrcene, Pinene, Caryophyllene
- ‘Tropical + Floral’ Class
- Mostly ‘Indica’-leaning varietals
- Tasting notes – Sweet, Floral, Tropical Fruit
- Effects – Calming, Soothing, Relaxing
- Common Cultivars – Super Skunk, Hawaiian, In the Pines, Dream Queen
- Terpenes Profile: Ocimene, Myrcene
- ‘OGs + Gas’ Class
- True ‘Hybrid’ varietals
- Tasting Notes – Gas, Fuel, Sweet, Citrus, and Pepper
- Effect – Uplifting, Stimulating, Analgesic, Relaxation
- Common Cultivars – Classic OG Kush, Chemdog, Sour Diesel, Gorilla Glue
- Terpenes Profile: Any combination or shifting codominance of Caryophyllene, Limonene, Myrcene
- ‘Exotics’ (Rare Terpene Combinations) Class
- True ‘Hybrid’ varietals
- Tasting notes – varied based on chemistry of entry
- Effect – varied based on chemistry of entry
- Common Cultivars – rarest terpene profiles entered into the Emerald Cup Competition
- ‘Desserts’ Class
- True ‘Hybrid’ varietals
- Tasting Notes – Deserts, Doughs, Citrusy & Spicy
- Effects – Stimulating, Racy, Uplifting, Comforting
- Common Cultivars – Classic Bubba Kush, GSC, Gelatos, Cakes
- Any shift in codominance of Caryophyllene & Limonene
With the development of these 6 new classifications, it is significantly easier and more accurate to classify a plant, it erases the vague old terms and introduces a completely new way to categorize plants. This is why Black Tie CBD is out with this old system and in with the new as far as systems go. There is more to cannabis than three strains, so why with the development of modern technologies should things be limited to the same classifications as they were in the 18th century?
This goes to show how important terpenes really are, and how the entourage effect varies depending on multiple facets which are not usually shown – including highlights of b-Caryophyllene (3.943 mg/g), Myrcene (3.767 mg/g), Terpinolene (2.605 mg/g). The relevance of highlighting terpenes matters significantly because terpenes have also been identified as a new frontier in cannabis medicine. Until recently, the spotlight has been focused almost exclusively on the therapeutic qualities of cannabinoids, such as THC and CBD, but as our understanding of terpenes grows more sophisticated, it’s becoming apparent that these aromatic compounds are medicinal powerhouses too. β-Caryophyllene: β-Caryophyllene is generally the most common sesquiterpene in cannabis, and the most abundantly produced terpene in Nature. Over the last decade, it has gained scientific attention after discovering that it can directly activate cannabinoids receptors. Basically, the β-Caryophyllene terpene acts as a cannabinoid. This is the terpene that contributes to the ever-so-slight spicy flavor, but mainly to the earthy profiles as well as the relaxation quality of this strain.
Myrcene: Myrcene is the most abundant terpene in modern commercial cannabis. Myrcene has many therapeutic benefits. Like other terpenes, myrcene is believed to have potential anti-inflammatory, potential anti-tumor, sleep-supportive, and other health benefits. Myrcene characteristically gives our cannabis strain a mildly sweet flavor profile and provides scent notes that are spicy, earthy and muskiness – and also contributes towards that relaxing and calm effect that was mentioned.
Terpinolene: Terpinolene, a terpene dominant in about one in ten cannabis strains, is recognized for its woody smell combined with floral citrus notes. In addition to its fresh aroma, terpinolene is known for its antifungal and antibacterial properties. Terpinolene is considered more multidimensional in comparison to other cannabis terpenes. These combined effects and profiles of terpinolene are why there are more fruity aromas and comforting effects. The combination of all three highlighted terpenes should indicate the importance of a more accurate and science-backed classification system to ensure that all effects, aromas and profiles are accounted for.
Simply put, Black Tie CBD is taking the steps that will revolutionize the cannabis industry by making cannabis easier to understand and more user accessible. You can read about Black Tie CBD and their revolutionary classification system all day, but you’ll never truly understand the importance of what they’re doing for the industry until you check it out yourself. Soon, you’ll see firsthand how Black Tie CBD is changing —and improving — the cannabis industry day by day.