CannaMD was proud to participate as an exhibiting sponsor at this year’s American Medical Marijuana Physicians Association (AMMPA) Conference. In addition to attending science-based lectures by some of the leading researchers in the country, our team of board certified physicians had the opportunity to speak with Leafly leaders directly about their impressive and game-changing cannabis guide!
Read on to learn how to use Leafly‘s new guide – and find out why medical marijuana patients are so excited!
Why Strain Names Don’t Help
If you’re a new medical marijuana patient, you’ve likely encountered a lot of confusing information regarding the different legal cannabis products available. With strain names like OG Kush and Gorilla Glue (that tell you nothing about the plant’s potential effects), you’re often left to scour the web in search of reviews or testimonials that line up with what you’re hoping to experience when using the product.
Fortunately, Leafly has stepped in and rolled out their new Cannabis Guide, which aims to replace the old system of strain names and categories with new graphical representations which can be used to quickly identify what a product has to offer!
We know the problem with cannabis strain names: They don’t tell us anything about what the product has to offer. However, these issues also carry over to the categories that strains are typically lumped into: indicas, sativas, and hybrids.
It is generally believed that cannabis plants that fall into the sativa category provide a more energizing experience, while indicas relax you and can result in what’s known as “couch lock.” This is hardly an exact science, though.
As medical marijuana legalization spreads across the country, cannabis growers have increasingly begun experimenting with cross-breeding different strains to the point that a given strain may look like an indica, but provide an energizing, sativa-like effect and vice versa. Therefore, deciding between different cannabis products based off of old categorizations has become risky.
Cannabis Classifications: What Really Matters
Traditionally, cannabis plants have been grouped into the aforementioned categories based off of their physical traits, which means little when it comes to the actual effects they produce. What matters most when deciding which strain is best for you is its chemical profile.
The cannabis plant is comprised of a variety of different compounds, including cannabinoids like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), and terpenes such as myrcene and pinene. It is a given cannabis plant’s specific balance of these compounds which is believed to produce the effects that different strains are associated with, not the plant’s physical characteristics.
How Leafly’s New System Works
When looking at Leafly’s new strain visualizations, you’ll likely be a little confused at first – but they really are quite simple!
For starters, in the middle of each strain visualization, you’ll find either a circle or a diamond, which represents the dominant cannabinoid. Diamonds signify THC, while a circle represents CBD. The larger these shapes appear, the more of the given compound is found in the particular plant it represents.
You’ll also notice that these shapes vary in color. The different colors all represent different terpenes:
- Pinene = Green
- Myrcene = Blue
- Terpinolene = Orange
- Limonene = Yellow
- Caryophyllene = Fuschia
- Linalool = Purple
- Humulene = Light Green
- Ocimene = Bright Red
Depending on the number and size of these colors and shapes, Leafly provides an idea of what effects a given plant is likely to produce. So if you look at a diagram with many large circles, you’re looking at a CBD-dominant strain. If there is a lot of blue, mixed with purple shapes, the strain is heavy with myrcene, mixed with a smaller amount of caryophyllene. A plant with these characteristics would likely produce a more relaxing effect.
How to Use the New Leafly System
Putting Leafly’s new visual system of cannabis classification to use isn’t as hard as it may first seem. They’ve added a new Flower Finder which works by adjusting a few sliders to hone in on the THC to CBD ratio you prefer, and which terpenes you’d like present.
After making your adjustments to the Flower Finder, a graphical representation, or flower, is produced with your preferred plant traits. Leafly then makes suggestions on which strains you’ll likely enjoy, based off of your choices.
Once you find a flower that works for your given condition – whether you need medical marijuana to help you fall asleep at night or something to provide you with more focus – finding compatible strains should be easy!
The hope is that as this new system is adopted throughout the medical marijuana industry, instead of relying on labels with strain names, Leafly’s flower visualizations will adorn legal cannabis product packaging.