VANCOUVER—Legalization may be making it harder for cannabis users to truly understand what they’re putting in their bodies, industry insiders say.
That’s because the legal recreational industry has been limited in terms of what it can tell consumers about the properties of pot, so it’s turning to catchy — but vague and often meaningless — branding instead.
Cannabis laws have been modelled on those that regulate alcohol, and that’s a problem, says B.C. cannabis consultant Ehren Richardson.
“Alcohol is … a brand competition more than anything else,” said Richardson, who is also the director of a cannabis store that is looking to become a provincially licensed recreational outlet.
Richardson says many of the grey market dispensaries the government is now trying to eliminate focused on the unique chemical and cultural properties of the different strains of cannabis, guiding customers toward the product that was, in theory, best suited for their needs.
But walk into a legal cannabis shop today and you may see brand names such as Bliss or Relax.
There is some information on the strains available. B.C.’s provincial cannabis stores provide information such as which terpenes — compounds responsible for cannabis’s flavour and aroma, as well as for influencing other compounds in the plant — are dominant in a given strain.
Also listed are the potential range of cannabinoids such as cannabidiol (CBD, a non-psychoactive compound thought to aid in treatment for ailments such as inflammation, pain, and cancer symptoms) and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, the compound responsible for the cannabis “high”) which a user may encounter in their cannabis.