Cannabis Strains Often Possess Similar Plant Chemistry

Cannabis flower on display at a California medical marijuana dispensary. (Sonya Yruel/Drug Policy Alliance)

KELOWNA, BC — Various ‘strains’ of cannabis possess nearly identical ratios of the primary cannabinoids THC and CBD, according to data published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Researchers from the University of British Columbia analyzed the cannabinoid composition of 33 separate cannabis strains, obtained from five licensed producers.

They reported that most strains, regardless of their origin, name, or whether they were classified as either indica or sativa, possessed nearly the same quantities of THC and CBD.

By contrast, many strains did differ from one another with regard to the abundance of other, less prevalent cannabinoids.

“A high abundance compound in a plant, such as THC or CBD, isn’t necessarily responsible for the unique medicinal effects of certain strains,” the study’s lead author opined in a press release. “Understanding the presence of the low abundance cannabinoids could provide valuable information to the medical cannabis community.”

The data is consistent with prior analyses finding that many so-called cannabis strains actually possess few significant genetic differences.

Full text of the study, “Chemometric analysis of cannabinoids: Chemotaxonomy and domestication syndrome,” appears in Scientific Reports.

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