Cultivar, Chemovar: What’s the point?

So probably at least once or twice every day one of our customers says to me in the most Dazed and Confused-esque way. . . “Man . . . you got like the dream job man… Do you like get to test all these strains?” to which I reply in my most Half Baked-esque way, “Hell yea dude! And you best believe it my man! And the proper term is cultivar.” Okay, I may leave out the latter in my best attempt to not sound like a douche-bag, much to my boss’ dismay.

It had to have been about three to four weeks ago my boss was super excited to geek out on the latest terminology he heard from a key speaker at the Terpestival. The words “cultivar” and “chemovar” are more informative synonyms to words I classically knew as cannabinoid/terpene profile and strain.

So, long story short, he informed us about this new terminology to help classify marijuana correctly for lab technicians and growers and everyone in-between. Nicholas Demski, a writer for terpenesandtesting.com, gives a clear and concise description of the differences between the term cultivar and chemovar.

A cultivar is what a grower might cultivate, a variety of a plant created or selected and maintained though cultivation, For cannabis; Sour Diesel, GG#4, and OG Kush are all examples of different cultivars, so yeah its means the same thing as the term potheads have used for decades, strain.

A chemovar is the term used when considering cannabis from a more scientific approach. By observing the terpene profile, cannabinoid presence, and other elements of the whole plant that are not inert, labs are able to identify different chemovars within the cannabis plant.

Demski paraphrases Dr. Ethan B. Russo in saying scientists don’t have the luxury of using generic names for plants that vary so wildly in their appearance yet have strikingly similar compound structures. Russo says that cultivars are eminently malleable, and are as simple to alter as writing a new label. Chemovars is needed for precise dosing and consumers looking to replicate an exact effect. Lab technicians need to isolate these measurable chemical markers found in cannabis to help classify the industry and differentiate between plant chemistries, and the physiological effects the plants will trigger.

Before I give you my opinion on this spicy new terminology, I highly suggest reading a piece by Dominic Corva, titled ‘The Chemovar and the Cultivar.” Corva does a beautiful job explaining the differences between some of these newer terminologies and how they relate to older ones we might be using wrongly.

So back to my opinion piece . . . I am 100% for the unifying of cannabis culture and mass informing of any thing that has to do with a positive effect in the industry, especially when talked about by significant industry players like Dr. Ethan Russo, and Dominic Corva. But holy shit, most consumers aren’t ready to hear these pretentious sounding words describing weed.

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