British Columbia

UBC study exposes labelling of marijuana strains

A UBC study suggests that even medical marijuana growers' pot is often not genetically related to the strains they claim it is.

Study suggests the DNA doesn't match the THC when it comes to marijuana strains

A UBC study suggests labels for medical marijuana strains aren't worth the (rolling) paper they're written on. (Sara Calnek/CBC)

Not to harsh your mellow, but a new study suggests that labelling of marijuana, even by medical growers, is frequently inaccurate.

Dr. Jonathan Page of UBC's Department of Botany says users who seek out specific strains for medical or other reasons will often find their weed is not as advertised.

"Those classifications are actually quite inaccurate. The plants that were reported to be sativa were often not genetically sativa, and vice versa with indica as well," he said.

Dr. Page studied the DNA of 81 strains of marijuana from a medical grower in Ontario when he found the dubious labelling, suggesting this problem goes beyond illegal growers.

Indica? Sativa?

Most herbal aficionados will attest that certain strains have different kinds of psychoactive effects. 

Dr. Page says his work doesn't discredit the notion that different types of pot have different effects; he says the takeaway is that there is no reliable way of letting users know what they're actually getting.

"Right now I think we have this sort of confused system, and I think it's the result of a lack of research and prohibition. There hasn't been a lot of science done on the plant. It lags behind other crops," he said.

Page says that the marijuana industry could benefit from the wider use of genetic testing for marijuana, and that could provide users with information they can use to make better consumption decisions.

To hear the full interview, click the audio labelled: Study suggests labels on marijuana strains are half-baked


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