Green, pungent, and natural, how different can one cannabis flower be from another? The answer might surprise you.
We’re not talking about the variety among man-made hybrid strains (there are hundreds!), but rather the natural variance inherent to the very plant itself.
Although cannabis and its consumption has been around for ages, only in recent decades have scientists begun to grasp its depths, complexity and impact on the human brain.
Some researches have spent their careers studying the plant revealing a constant stream of new discoveries and understandings of its composition and therapeutic effects. This wouldn’t be the case if cannabis everywhere was well, the same ol’ uniform cannabis.
Why the Complexity?
A living thing, cannabis is a heterogeneous plant, and naturally extremely varied. So much so, that you would be hard-pressed to find two buds that are exactly the same.
“Expecting all buds within a container to be of the same potency is like expecting all grapes within a bag to be of the same ripeness.”- Cannabis Science and Technology 2018
Without getting too bogged down with the chemistry, we’ll give you the Reader’s Digest version of cannabis’s complex makeup and how in turn, it makes each flower unique.
A Peek into the Green
Cannabis is a complex plant with over 400 chemical entities, including over 100 cannabinoids, some of them with opposing effects. The two most popular cannabinoids are THC and CBD. How all these compounds effect vary by person and means of consumption. Unfortunately, the market talk is well ahead of the scientific data. It remains a guessing game.
Besides the natural variance in cannabis, different methods of cultivating (such a location, climate, equipment used, agricultural practices, etc) affect cannabis composition and potency. Bottom line: no two cannabis flowers are the same.
Why does variance matter?
Knowing cannabis’s inherent variance is extremely important for those turning to cannabis for medicinal reasons.
Potency, or how intense the effects of the specific flower are, can vary enormously. That’s why assuming a high, is a high, is a high, is incorrect.
THC is the cannabinoid responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis. Because cannabinoids range so widely, so do their THC contents and subsequent effects!
If you are aiming for consistent dosing, managing variance can be tricky. Cannabis is not like Advil or Tylenol which come with a guaranteed consistent dose.
One way consumers try to overcome cannabis’ inherent variance is by sticking to certain strains. Unfortunately, even consistently purchasing the same strain does not ensure you are consistently receiving the same potency, which can result in differing (even if sometimes only perceptible) results. Furthermore, it is not uncommon for two flowers from two different growers to be marketed as the same strain but in fact are genetically different.
Today, there are at-home potency tests that can help you understand the potency of your flowers bringing you dependability, and most of all, giving you some level of control over your dosing.
Even as we learn more about cannabis, scientists stabilize strain genetics, farmers adopt better agricultural practices and the industry boosts its quality assurance, cannabis will remain a complex heterogeneous plant. As the old saying goes, plants will be plants!