Article by Joseph Tunney, Civilized
Despite what your dispensary or licensed producer might tell you, that’s probably not Purple Kush you’re smoking. In fact, a Canadian researcher suggests marijuana strain names are often nonsense.
“We know extraordinarily little,” said Sean Myles, a 38-year-old associate professor in the Department of Plant and Animal Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia.
“When you get Purple Kush from one place and Purple Kush from another, chances are they’re no more genetically related to each other than they are to some random other stuff.”
Myles started off his career examining the genetics of grapes in the United States, later moving onto apples. However, seeing marijuana as the most commonly used illicit and legal drug, and suspecting not all was how it appeared, the Fredericton-born researcher and his team decided to examine the genetic structures of strains of hemp and marijuana.
Typically, marijuana is divided into two distinctive subspecies: indica, which supposedly gives you “couch lock” when smoked and is characterized by wide leaves; and sativa, which has more narrow leaves and supposedly gives you a more energetic high.
Myles said as marijuana became increasingly legitimate to grow in Canada and the U.S., and with questions tied to medical marijuana lingering, he saw folk-knowledge move into those discussions.
He said some of the more dubious claims involve the ancestry estimates of strains.
“There were often claims about, ‘oh yeah, this particular strain that we’re going to sell you from a legitimate company, under a federally licensed company, is 75 per cent sativa and 25 per cent indica,’ ” he said.
As a professional scientist involved in plant breeding and genetics, he found these claims highly doubtful.