Zerenia Clinic UK

February 2022

The categorisation and nomenclature of cannabis is more complex than you might think – and also more important. The standard categorization in recent decades, strains, is on its way out. It is being replaced by more accurate and flexible terms, such as chemovars and chemotypes. At Khiron, we use the categorisation “phenotype” instead of “chemovar”, whereby there are many different ways to describe a product in a medical and generally understandable way.

Though the distinction between these terms may seem trivial at first glance, it is in fact crucial for cannabis research, and therefore also for consumers and regulators as well. Researchers conducting survey based studies today often only have access to the THC concentration of the cannabis that their participants are using. If they had access to the entire chemical profile, they’d be able to extrapolate much more practical information, including what types of cannabis are better for which ailments, and how different chemical profiles influence the body.

[…] Despite what you might be led to believe when stepping into pretty much any dispensary in the United States, strain names don’t mean much and they can’t really be used for the categorization of cannabis products. Luckily, this knowledge is becoming more and more common among cannabis researchers, consumers, and enthusiasts in recent years.

Instead, two often-interchangeably used terms have been growing in popularity as an alternative to “strains”: chemotypes (chemical types) and chemovars (chemical variations).

Here is what they mean:

Strains: Types of cannabis that are distinguished by name, but not standardized. For example, Bubba Kush in one dispensary can be different from Bubba Kush in another dispensary. In fact, even within the same dispensary, a product with the same strain name may vary from batch to batch.

Chemotypes: Types of cannabis that are grouped by their most abundant cannabinoid. For example, Type 1 cannabis is THC dominant.

Chemovars: Types of cannabis which are loosely defined and grouped, based on at least one or two of the most abundant cannabinoids and two-to-four main terpenes.

The full article from 29.6.2021 can be found here: https://cannigma.com/plant/cannabis-chemovars-chemotypes/

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