The Differences Between Cannabis Strains Aren't as Big You Think
If you’ve spent precious time familiarizing yourself with all the different strains of marijuana, we’ve got some dispiriting news. According to a study from the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus, it’s all pretty much the same stuff. At least when it comes to THC and CBD.
Until now, the chemical breakdown of many strains has been unknown because of informal breeding.
Elizabeth Mudge, a doctoral student working with Murch and Paula Brown, Canada Research Chair in Phytoanalytics at the British Columbia Institute of Technology, examined the cannabinoid–a class of chemical compounds that include THC and CBD–profiles of 33 strains of cannabis from five licensed producers.
The research shows that most strains, regardless of their origin or name, had the same amount of THC and CBD. They further discovered that breeding highly potent strains of cannabis impacts the genetic diversity within the crop, but not THC or CBD levels.
That may come as a shock to marijuana users who swear by the different effects they get from different strains of pot. When not chalked up to good old marketing and placebo effects, it’s possible this is resulting from differences between the hundreds of other, lesser-known compounds in cannabis besides THC and CBD.
It’s also cause for further research.
"A high abundance compound in a plant, such as THC or CBD, isn't necessarily responsible for the unique medicinal effects of certain strains," Mudge told Science Magazine. "Understanding the presence of the low abundance cannabinoids could provide valuable information to the medical cannabis community."