1. Dear Drugs-Forum readers: We are a small non-profit that runs one of the most read drug information & addiction help websites in the world. We serve over 4 million readers per month, and have costs like all popular websites: servers, hosting, licenses and software. To protect our independence we do not run ads. We take no government funds. We run on donations which average $25. If everyone reading this would donate $5 then this fund raiser would be done in an hour. If Drugs-Forum is useful to you, take one minute to keep it online another year by donating whatever you can today. Donations are currently not sufficient to pay our bills and keep the site up. Your help is most welcome. Thank you.
  1. 5-HT2A
    OG Kush. Skywalker. Pineapple Express. Sour Diesel. Sour Jack.

    These are the "strains" that medical marijuana consumers are sold, often at premium prices, with the promise that they'll do something special for you.

    But a foremost cannabis expert, Jeffrey Raber, who holds a Ph.D. in chemistry from USC, says it's all b.s. Those names don't mean anything, and a forthcoming study he's working on will prove it, Raber tells us. In fact ...

    ... he even disputes the commonly held notion that the two polar types of weed, indica and sativa, produce opposing effects -- specifically that indica is more of a depressant and sativa is more of an upper.

    To be sure, many of the aforementioned strains pack the punch promised by their purveyors.

    But beyond that, especially when it comes to projections of stimulation or relaxation, head trips versus body highs, and strain-specific cures and treatments, it's a crap shoot, Raber says.

    There's no scientific basis for the claims being made by pot shops about the effects of their weed, Raber argues. In fact, he says his study is showing that what's being sold as OG Kush in one shop could be something completely different in another.

    "Most people don't even know," he says. "We took a popular name, Jack Herer, and found that most didn't even look like each other. OG whatever, Kush whatever, and the marketing that goes along with it -- it's not really medically designed."

    Raber's company, The Werk Shop, provides testing for medical marijuana dispensaries so they can sell pesticide-free weed that's been verified.

    The strain study he's working on is analyzing more than 1,000 brands of cannabis sold at pot shops, Raber says. The science involved is called metabolomics and will look at metabolites, cannabinoids, turpenes and 42 other aspects of each sample, he says.

    The pot expert plans to see the study published by spring. He hopes in the end the research will establish new guidelines for naming strains so that they're consistent from dispensary to dispensary and, more importantly, so that they actually mean something to the consumer.


    December 3, 2013

    By Dennis Romero



  1. CannabisBenzoBuddie
    To claim theres no difference between a sativa strain and india strain.. HA being a 20+ year cannabis consumer i can tell you 100% theres a HUGE difference .. This study is gonna be full of holes...at the very least.
  2. Großschmackhaft
    What a bunch of nonsense. :rolleyes:

    There may be some exaggerated claims as to the differences, yes. I would't be able to differentiate between the high from a Northern Lights and a Skunk (both mostly indica). But between, say, Ice and Wappa? 100% of the time. Hell, i can even smell the difference between indica and sativa strains with good certainty.

    Where does he get this idea?
  3. Basoodler
    hmm.. I don't know what grounds he would have to form this thesis.. he is probably guessing


    he IS a chemist (PHD) and subject matter expert who happens to be contracted to do chemical analysis on marijuana.. .. this analysis presumably involves GC/MS to identify pesticide contamination over time. These GC/ms test results would be invaluable in the study of the concentration of each cannabinoid in every strain he tests.. throw in a little scientific method by testing several samples of each strain..

    I don't know grob.. I am pretty sure he has access to all the data he needs to make a strong case. I wouldn't dismiss this easily.. It could be bullet proof based on what he has access to
  4. WizardMindBomb
    Ha, and just because you've been smoking for 20+ years it means you've developed senses identical to comprehensive lab testing equipment? At least wait until the study is out. although I can already tell legions of self proclaimed connoisseurs are going to want to disagree with the results
  5. Großschmackhaft
    A lot of stupid things has been said about drugs by people of academic repute, so his PHD does not impress me. There IS a difference. Millions of people have experienced it. If the difference is not due to cannabinoid proportion, it must be due to something else, but the difference is there. I have smoked different strains with people who were incredulous of this difference and even made fun of me for being a smug wannabe connossoir like the the poster above did, but in the end they felt it too.

    I cannot believe the experiences of millions of people are just a mere placebo effect. Given that sativas require considerably more effort to cultivate indoors, why would anyone even bother to grow them if the effect was the same?

    But well, let's wait for the study to be finished.
  6. ianzombie
    Regardless of the study some people are going to be more sensitive to smell and taste and effect than others and will be able to use that to differentiate between strains.

    I recently watched a Documentary called Som which was about a few guys who were taking the Master Sommelier test. A sommelier is a wine expert and the Master Som is someone who can tell you what grape, what vineyard in what area of a country and what year the wine was produced all by taste,.

    In the 40 year history there have only ever been 170 Master Soms in the entire world.
    Under that there are thousands of Soms that never go any higher as while they are experts on almost everything about wine they are not as tuned in to the drink as the Masters.
    Under that you have hundreds of thousands of people who have a great nose for wines.
    Then you have the millions of casual wine drinkers who could not tell you fuck all other than the colour of the wine.

    I dont see cannabis being any different. I could not tell you the difference between 2 similar strains but i am positive there is going to be the equivalent to the Sommelier once cannabis becomes more world accepted. Someone who can tell you where it is from by smell, taste and effect and who can then offer you a strain as a suggestion to best meet your mood/requirements.
  7. baZING
    As someone who frequently has access to many different strains on a regular basis, I can tell you that in my experience, a lot of them are distinctly different from one another. Obviously, lots of people would agree with me.

    I don't know whether or not this is really because of the plants themselves, or if it is largely a placebo effect. Honestly, I don't really care. But what I'm wondering is, does it really matter? I can't help but think not. So much of our experience with any drug is influenced and transformed by our perception and this is especially true with a drug like marijuana IMO. If a person really were to perceive a hundred different strains in a hundred different ways (and people certainly do) then who is this guy to say they're wrong?

    I think what's really meaningless here is this study... but an interesting read nonetheless.
  8. WizardMindBomb
    At least now with this level of research being done, I hope that those who are still deeply misconceived in regards to cannabis will begin to think about it and reevaluate their stances on the subject of legalisation. At least in my part of the world, where some of the myths perpetuated by the anti-marijuana campaigns are still prevalent
  9. baZING
    Please note that reputation is not allowed to be discussed in threads. If you feel your reputation was unjust, go to your user control panel and report it. As you are a silver member, I would recommend editing out your reply to your received reputation in this thread as it is only likely to attract further issues.

    I am curious as to what you think this study has to do with legalization, and how it might change the minds of those who are grossly misinformed? Perhaps you would say that any study done on marijuana that could educated the masses is a good thing, but considering how deeply people hold certain convictions don't you think that a study like this could cause a person already against legalization to say, "well if they're 'lying' about this then what else are they lying about?" Personally, I do.

    I'm not arguing against objective scientific studies that are intent on figuring out the truth of any given matter, and that may be all this is; I'm not suggesting otherwise. But like I said in my first response, I don't really see why it matters when people's perceptions about what they're smoking are unlikely to change... or are unlikely to change as a result of a single study. Even if this study were eventually confirmed to be unquestionably accurate, I don't think those who proclaim to notice a difference between certain strains are going to suddenly change their tune.
  10. WizardMindBomb
    Sorry, but I'm on a mobile phone. Its hard enough to punch out a quick reply, let alone 'go advanced' and begin editing my posts.

    But I will try to elaborate on the legalisation aspect of my last post. I mean that hopefully now that the constituents of cannabis are being studied at this level, it will perhaps lead to the findings being used in a way that supports claims about the benefits of cannabis, and will quell misconceptions about how the cannibanoids and other associated chemicals affect and react with human minds and bodies.

    Id like to point out that I'm not American. I live in rural Australia. Our culture and demographic differs to that of the US. (Although I have heard some call Australia 'little America' as it seems we are heavily influenced by American culture. But the culture in Australian cities compared to rural townships is also quite differential)
  11. rawbeer
    The problem with the claims being made in this study is that the pharmacodynamics of cannabis intoxication are still not completely understood. The interaction between cannibinoids and essential oils in the plant are still being studied, with some people claiming it's the oils that do most of the "coloring" of the high, from strain to strain. Unless this guy can explain all this, as the saying goes, his mouth is writing a check his ass can't cash.

    On top of that I can say from experience that a cannabis high is also very dependent on the person experiencing it. The exact same weed can produce two very different highs for me depending on the state of my body and mind. So accounting for that throws a really irritating monkey wrench into any would-be investigator's works.

    This guy does make a point in that there is really no control over what gets sold as what. Who's checking to make sure the OG Kush is genetically OG Kush? On top of that, the exact same seed can produce two very different plants depending on growing conditions. I've smoked delicious, fragrant and stony weed grown from nasty-ass Charlie brown ditchweed, because it was grown well and cured properly. So he has a point that these names can be misleading. When the difference in names is hard cash coming out of your pocket, it matters. I've seen "purple haze" that I'm almost positive was mid-grade stuff with purple dye on it. And it was going for premium prices.

    To me the claim that all weed is the same is just not defensible. Every pot smoker on earth will attest to that. You may as well claim all apples are the same. I'm sure this guy has some valid points to make but at least the way it's presented in this article, he's going a bit far in his assertions.
  12. The Architect
    I always believed people's expectations of certain strains had a placebo effect on it's users. I believe there can be a difference in potency and quality, but perceptibly that's as far as it goes.
  13. MrG
    The psychoactive effect of the variation in levels of THC and CBD by way of smoking different 'strains' of marijuana might well be possible to replicate by simply smoking different parts of the same plant, surely?

    Every joint rolled is going to have more or less THC than the previous one and more or less CBD, simply because, unlike pure powder-based drugs, the doses of each substance is never going to be consistent by weight of material alone.

    I'm sure most marijuana users can relate to those times when they, upon smoking a particular joint, will express surprise at just how fucking high they suddenly feel. Depending on the ratio of THC and CBD that has been inhaled, there will be a different 'tone' to that high in terms of whether it induces sedating couch-lock, stimulating philosophical discussion or a wobbly walk to the bathroom in order to spend the next twenty minutes alternating between hugging the toilet to puke and being laid out flat on the floor having a panic attack.
  14. Joe-(5-HTP)
    This would be kind of funny if true.

    Reminds me of wine enthusiasts who insist there are huge differences between types of wine.

    Maybe cannabis smokers are the same? I use cannabis, but it all seems the same to me tbh.
  15. hookedonhelping
    Or Vodka sipping aficionados' who swear by Grey Goose, only to sit down in a blind taste test and find out the one vodka they disliked the most was.. Grey Goose.

    People like to feel like they are experts of something.. it gives their lives meaning. People like us Joe, we sent away for the x-ray glasses and can see right through their B.S.

    With that being said I believe the balance of CBD vs THC affects the high.
  16. Alfa
    This reminds me of how research chemicals are sold under catchy brand names, while the content is completely unreliable.
    Its a public secret that cannabis strains are often branded by people who haven't got the smallest clue about their own strains. A catchy strain name means nothing, because as soon as a strain becomes popular and demand rises, there will be hordes of vendors offering that exact strain.

    It would be very cool to see a scientific approach to this. I hope that a scientific index of marijuana strains will work.
  17. Gradient
    I agree that this strikes me as more of an indictment of the lack of standards with regards to strain identification and marketing, rather than an actual characterization of the purported genetic and subjective differences between strains. Much of the cannabis grown in medicinal/legalized states comes from clones obtained from clinics - and buyers must assume that they're getting what they're told their getting. Particularly in such juvenile plants, it's very difficult to verify anything.

    Also, in my mind, these plants are highly unlikely to be 'pure-bred' from a genetic perspective - and the idea that all OG Kush comes from the same ancestral plant is highly unlikely. That two plants smell the same and produce buds & leaves that resemble each other are essentially the best methods buyers & store owners can use - both of which are morphological assessments, and are notoriously poor means to identify genetics.

    The final analysis is the same, however: it's going to be a while, if ever, that buyers can be confident that they're getting exactly the strain they think they're getting, and shouldn't base their decisions on the reputation of a strain name.
  18. Großschmackhaft
    It's true that one cannot look at a plant and tell what strain it supposedly is. However the morphological (narrow leaves and tall growth for sativa plants, broader leaves and stoutness for indica ones) and olfactory (piney smell for sativa, fruity for indica) properties make an assessment of whether a plant is indica or sativa dominant possible.

    I must say i am surprised i am relatively alone here in defending the differences of the effects of the two cannabis species - When i said i can distinguish them by their effects, this was not meant to be boastful, just to illustrate how obvious the difference is to me. On this forum, you always read about how this kind of weed produces more of a couchlock or that kind of weed makes you giggly, so i expected that this was pretty much an accepted fact among cannabis users.
  19. MrG
    But that was my point earlier, that the same weed will have different effects from joint to joint, culminating in a high which can be different from one evening to the next from the same batch.
  20. Alfa
    IMHO the cannabis culture is entrenched with myths. I have heard more than a few 'facts' considered holy in the cannabis culture, that are highly unlikely to be true. Just ask an American and a Dutchman where White Widow came from and you will get two very different saga's with different hero's.

    The sativa - indica definition is likely to be one of those myths.
    Ask yourself: how do you define sativa, indica and ruderalis percentage if you only have a plant to look at and some buds to smoke? And maybe a vague idea of what the parent strains are, but that might also not be correct because who knows where the parents came from.
    I think this is what happening at many of the breeders. If they breed at all and not just resell under private brand.
To make a comment simply sign up and become a member!