For as long as anyone can remember, varieties of cannabis and their resultant products have been categorized as either sativas, indicas, or a hybrid of the two. These categories are associated with both the physical attributes of the plants themselves, as well as the expected psychoactive effects from consuming said plants.
Sativas are described as tall, lanky plants with long, thin leaves. Typically, sativas are seen to provide energizing “head” highs. Typically-associated effects include euphoria, focus, and happiness. On the other hand, indicas are described as shorter and bushier plants with correspondingly shorter, wider leaves. These strains are known for creating more sedating “body” highs. Typically-associated effects include calmness, relaxation and sleepiness.
Hybrids in turn fall somewhere in between the two—both in physical terms and with regards to the effects they create. Sometimes, the hybrid category will be expanded into “sativa-dominant hybrids”, “balanced hybrids” and “indica-dominant hybrids” to reflect whether the strain more closely resembles the effects of a typical sativa or indica strain. Unfortunately, strains don’t really conform to these convenient groupings, and these labels are problematic for several reasons.
Almost Everything Is a Hybrid
The majority of true sativa/indica strains are the ancestral landraces from which nearly all modern day cultivars have descended. Think Afghani, Thai, Acapulco Gold—strains that you likely haven’t seen on the market for several decades, if ever, unless you traveled to their place of origin to find in the wild. As such, the vast majority of strains available today are hybridized, as they’ve been bred through the combination of various sativa and indica strains to achieve the best characteristics from each type. In fact, based on recent research, there are no discernible genetic differences between strains that are claimed to be sativas versus those claimed to be indicas.
As one of our company core values is to be an educational resource for our customers and the cannabis market at large, it made a lot of sense to us to focus not on outdated categories that aren’t supported by science, but instead to focus on things like the ensemble effect—how the unique combination of cannabinoids and terpenes present in the variety of cannabis steers the effects—a concept which is supported by research.
Strain Phenotypes Can Vary Significantly
As any seasoned grower knows, various phenotypes of a particular strain—the unique expression of the genetics at the seed level—can smell, taste and behave very differently than other phenotypes. So much so in fact, that many popular strains are actually just a specific phenotype of another strain, such as Tahoe OG and SFV OG, which are both phenotypes of OG Kush. Think of it in human terms—while two siblings might share the same parents, unless they’re identical twins, they could look and act very differently from one another—it’s no different with cannabis.
With our effect-based approach, our cultivation team is able to hone in on specific phenotypes without being hamstrung by overbearing labels that might run contrary to the effects identified. Through their combined decades of experience growing hundreds of different cultivars and phenotypes of cannabis, they’ve been able to document and catalog exactly which genetics are best suited for various uses. In turn, they’re able to cultivate these genetics for our customers, providing a more targeted approach to cannabis consumption.
For our manufactured products, our research and development team is able to take this information, custom-formulate specific cannabinoid ratios and then combine these with other natural, synergistic, non-cannabis ingredients—such as adaptogenic mushrooms, herbs and essential oils—which result in a more holistic, tailored approach to consumption.
It’s Difficult for Customers to Know What They Want and to Get What They Want
It’s hard enough for anyone but the most expert cannabis users to keep track of the immense and ever-growing variety of strains on the market. Often, due to the industry’s focus on strains rather than the effects of those strains, customers walking into their local dispensary will not really know what effect they’re looking for in the first place.
They’ll walk in the doors, be overwhelmed by choices and confusing, non-descriptive strain names, including exotic genetics that they’ve never heard of, and end up purchasing something that may or may not provide them with the experience they wanted at all. It would kind of be like going into a liquor store with no understanding of the difference between beer, wine, tequila or vodka (nor the varieties within each) and just arbitrarily choosing something off the shelf—not a great approach for a predictable outcome to be sure!
Even if you know what strains you prefer, you might not get what you were expecting when you purchase it at a dispensary, or even if you grow it yourself, due to the phenotype issue. We saw this as a big gap in the average cannabis consumer’s experience, and decided to create a way to add predictability and consistency to the user experience, all without the high knowledge barrier typically seen in the cannabis industry.
Cannabis is an amazing plant and has many benefits, from both medicinal and recreational standpoints. However, the industry’s status quo for categorizing and explaining various cultivars of cannabis creates a lot of confusion and a big barrier to entry for most consumers—preventing them from discovering its true power, which is the incredibly dynamic nature of its effect, and the fact that cannabis does not need to be seen or used in isolation—but can in fact work harmoniously and synergistically with other natural remedies and ingredients to provide users with the exact experience they’re looking for, every time.
When you use a Heritage Provisions product, you can rest easy knowing that our knowledgeable team has selected the best strain/phenotype, specific cannabinoid ratio, and synergistic ingredients available to provide the intended effect. This way, you can be confident that you’ll get what you’re looking for out of each experience. For more information on Heritage Provisions products, please contact our team online or visit one of our locations and chat with a staff member.