Opinion: Changing Strain Names in Ohio's Medical Marijuana Program
Updated: Aug 26, 2021
One of the most valuable resources for medical marijuana patients across the country is Leafly, the world's leading cannabis website that compiles strain information and allows users to rate and review different strains of cannabis.
Cannabis can be a somewhat tricky treatment option to get used to, as it often requires a bit of trial and error to find the products and strains that work best for your medical condition(s) and symptom(s). When considering what product and strain might work best for you, the most important information needed to help guide you between the thousands of different strains revolve around the terpene and cannabinoid profile of any given strain.
Terpenes are the medicinal compounds found within cannabis, and other natural items, that give a strain its specific smell and taste; additionally, each individual terpene has specific medicinal benefits that can allow you to more specifically provide symptomatic relief. Cannabinoids, on the other hand, are the medicinal compounds found within cannabis that imitate compounds our bodies naturally produce which activate to maintain internal stability and health; the most prevalent cannabinoids are THC and CBD, but there are numerous other cannabinoids that are being studied for their role in cannabis treatment relief.
Now that we understand the importance of understanding the terpene and cannabinoid profile that gives each strain its own "personality", this brings us back to Leafly. The main reason Leafly is of such value to medical cannabis patients across the world is the strain profiles that they have created on their website and app. By looking up any given strain, you are able to find the terpene profile, cannabinoid profile, and user reviews that can guide you in choosing the best strain for your needs. It is worthwhile to note that, while these are generally correct strain profiles, there is always chance there can be slight variations depending on the cultivator that produces any particular strain.
For those that are familiar with Leafly and utilize the strain profiles they have compiled when choosing strains at the dispensary, it is quite likely that you have found a strain in Ohio that is not included in Leafly's database. While this can often mean that the strain simply is so new that it has not been properly analyzed, there may also be another culprit that is specific to Ohioans: the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program has language included that dictates certain strain names must be altered in order to be sold in Ohio dispensaries.
Generally speaking, the state regulatory agencies are concerned with strain names that are attractive to children, and references to pop culture; despite the fact that there is no possible way that a child would be allowed access to an Ohio dispensary in the first place, meaning the "attractiveness to children" is a rather mute argument. The language in this rule is broad, and for that reason, it seems as though final decisions can be relatively arbitrary.
For example from my tours with Ohio cultivators, and my experiences in dispensaries, I have run into a strain called "Pennywise" that was available on dispensary shelves; while that strain was available in Ohio dispensaries, there was another cultivator growing the same strain and was told to change the strain name before it could be sold.
Furthermore, strains that are processed into other cannabis products can often have a strain name change required, even if the strain is available in flower form under the original strain name. For example, Buckeye Relief currently has a flower strain available at dispensaries called "Grapefruit Sour Dream", however, if that strain was used for extraction, Buckeye Relief would be required to change the strain name to something like "GF Sour Dream Live Resin."
Sounds simple enough, so what's the problem?
Try something yourself: use Leafly to search for AK-47. Did you find a strain profile, and therefore could learn more about the strain? Great, this is how it should be! Now, try to search on Leafly for OH-47, a strain currently available in Ohio dispensaries. No results? That is because OH-47 was a required strain name change from AK-47. So, while you would be able to find the appropriate strain profile with the original name, now that the name has been altered it does not appear in the Leafly search.
This signifies the real issue with the required strain name changes as it does not allow patients to further analyze what strain would work best for them prior to physically visiting the dispensary. Who wants to drive to a dispensary when you're not even sure of the medicinal benefits of a given strain? The reason cannabis is such an incredible treatment option is the ability for patients to take healthcare and medication into their own hands.
From my experience, these few strain name changes are just the tip of the iceberg. Next time you are unable to find a particular strain, be sure to reach out directly to either the dispensary or cultivator as many cultivators now include information such as genetics and lineage, type of cannabis classification (sativa, indica, hybrid, etc.), and the dominant terpenes found in that strain.
It is important to note that, due to advertising restrictions, dispensaries, cultivators, and processors are unable to answer questions via Google reviews or social media accounts. For this reason, it is always suggested to go to the company's website which often hosts an email address or phone number to call, or you can try Direct Messaging on social media rather than in the comments and they will be much more likely to provide an answer to your question.
As always, if you have any questions regarding the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program, or you are interested in obtaining access to Ohio dispensaries, you can call our Patient Support Center at (866-457-5559) or learn more on our website.
If you are an Ohioan suffering from one of these 21 medical conditions you may be eligible to treat your ailment with medical marijuana, which includes both THC and CBD products.
Click here to learn more about what Ohio Marijuana Card's state-certified medical marijuana doctors can do for you, or give us a call at (866-457-5559) and our friendly support team can walk you through the entire process, and set you up with an appointment.