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You need genetic authentication to get specific information on cannabis strains. And getting that genetic information may not be available now—or for years to come.
You buy your favorite cannabis strain—let’s say it’s Blue Dream. It’s a common strain, very popular and available at many dispensaries no matter where in the 33 states you go to get it.
But a lab check will tell you that the Blue Dream you got in Denver is not the same Blue Dream you got in Chicago. There may be little changes in the chemical composition. There may be big changes. Or there may just be downright deceit: “Hey, Blue Dream is popular, let’s slap a label on this generic preroll of indistinguishable origin and call it Blue Dream and voila, sales increase!”
Only a lab analysis can show you the cannabinoid and terpene combinations of a specific strain of marijuana that can help you get what you want. Most responsible dispensaries have that information.
But that only gets you close to what you want. You need genetic authentication to get more specific. And getting that genetic information may not be available now—or for years to come.
That unknown is a quiet, ongoing problem with cannabis cultivators and sellers—making sure the consumer gets the strain they want. It has been the sort of Holy Grail that, according to one study, has been “confounded by many cultural factors” because the cannabis plant “has seen wide geographic dispersal and artificial selection by humans over thousands of years.”
Clearing up the genetic structure of a certain cannabis strain is top of the agenda for researchers. The cannabis genome has been sequenced. But researchers say that hasn’t helped with the confusion about what is truly in the plant, and where it originally came from.
To get closer to answers, let’s do a little CSI.
It all started on a Tuesday millions of years ago, in the Pleistocene era. The species of cannabis sativa is thought to have begun during that period in the upland valleys of a mountain range in central Asia, with domestication following a few million years later in the same area.
It has been generally agreed on that the cannabis plant spread alongside the development of humanity.
But the plant has a history of being uncontrollable. Cannabis sativa is a wind pollinated plant, with evidence of cannabis pollen traveling across the Mediterranean from North Africa to southern Spain.
Recreational cannabis appeared in the 19th century in the Magdalena River valley in the Columbia Andes, at various coastal ports, and in Panama during the construction of the canal in the early 20th century.
Published: October 28, 2020
Founder & Interim Editor of L.A. Cannabis News