Cannabis Varieties

Cannabis consists only of a single species, going by its official botanical name Cannabis sativa L. This means (in biological terms) that every cannabis plant can be crossed with every other one. Its closest relatives in the plant world are Hops (cousin) and Nettle (second cousin). Over time, people worldwide have selectively grown cannabis for certain desired characteristics: narcotic effect, size, bud shape, smell, you name it. When the resulting plant becomes sufficiently different from other Cannabis plants, it is generally considered as a distinct variety. Dogs and tulips are other examples of a single species with lots of different varieties.

As a result of centuries of such breeding and selection, a wide range of varieties (also known as strains) has been developed. Varieties are commonly distinguished, by plant breeders, recreational users, and patients, through the use of popular names such as White Widow, Northern Lights, Amnesia, and Haze. Nowadays, well over 700 varieties have already been described and many more are thought to exist. An obvious question is how the many names used for all these cannabis varieties reflect an actual difference in medicinal properties. In other words: which varieties are most important and useful to patients, and how many names do we really need to tell them apart?

The most common way generally used to classify Cannabis varieties is through ‘phenotype’, which includes all characteristics that we can detect with our senses: plant shape, color, height, smell and so on. Based on such characteristics, two main types of cannabis are usually recognized: Cannabis sativa laboratories. Cannabis grown indoors generally has higher levels of cannabinoids when compared to outdoor grown plants. When grown under optimized indoor conditions, female flowers can be obtained with a THC content of up to 30% of their dry weight.