What’s in a Name?

Written by BlackbirdGo October 14, 2021
The Plant

From Purple Urkle to Slurricane, names for strains can be memorable and sometimes downright absurd. But how do you even begin naming a weed strain? Whether it’s silly or it denotes a particular event or person, there are endless reasons behind how a strain is given its name. 

Before diving into the insane amount of names, we should begin by understanding where it all came from. Landrace strains, or the feral strains, laid the foundations of all the products you see at your local dispensary. The genetic makeup of those landrace strains have been crossbred since the 60’s and 70’s resulting in the array of strains we come to love today.

Durban Poison, Afghan Kush, Columbian Gold are a few landrace strains that have been genetically modified to be more sustainable, give different effects, yield larger amounts of product, and also to create different flavor profiles. These mentioned landrace strains were named after the distinct location from where it originated. The landrace genes will eventually die over time, but hybrids will always be created to support the building blocks for future strains.

So how is a name picked?

Oftentimes the names are combinations of the parent genes names like Blue Dream, for example. Blue Dream is a crossbreed of Blueberry and Haze. Other times, strains are often named after their distinct look or aroma. Houndstooth is a strain named after its attributes alluding that the trichomes are covered in white frost resembling teeth.

Shaped like its namesake, the Houndstooth is an example of a strain named for its physical appearance. Photo credit: Cannabis NB

Names including “Kush” indicate that the strain derives from an indica plant. For example, OG Kush, Bubba Kush, and Banana Kush. Then names that include fruit or any other food allow the consumer to imply what flavor profile it falls under like Girl Scout Cookies or Cherry Pie. 

Strains like Charlie Sheen and Margaret Cho are some that are obviously named after pop culture icons. Even the Pineapple Express strain was named after the popular 2008 film. If a breeder doesn’t feel like putting in too much effort into naming their strain, there are online generators available to randomly pick a catchy name for them.

There is no particular equation in which a strain is given its name, but sometimes the names are a mix of its parent genes or it’s named solely on the basis of marketing purposes. Since there are thousands of strains on the market, it’s easier to brand and differentiate if the name is more memorable. 

But why are these wacky names so important?

It’s a definite advantage to have a catchy name when it comes to cannabis. Some names have become iconic and even copied by other breeders. Once a particular strain becomes popular in this vast market of cannabis, competitive breeders will rush to create similar strains. 

Consumers tend to pick strains based on familiarity. White Widow is a household name and most cannabis connoisseurs will recognize it. However, White Widow is not the only one of its kind. 

Famous for its stimulating effects, White Widow is a sativa-dominant hybrid that many other strains attempt to copy. Photo credit: Leafly.com

Originally crafted in the Netherlands, the White Widow was introduced in the mid-90’s and was popularized after winning the first prize at the Cannabis Cup. Dutch Flower, which had a similar phenotype to White Widow, snagged second place that very same year. Because of varying legalities across states and even countries, cannabis strains are rarely copyrighted or trademarked. Therefore, dupes of strains will infiltrate the market just to compete with the big names. 

Popular Strains to Try

If you’re into consuming your cannabis in flower form, Stiizy’s Pink Champagne may fancy you. Pink Champagne is a hybrid of Grandaddy Purple and Cherry Pie, and its flavor profile is a mixture of grapes and berries. 

Perhaps you prefer something more portable like a cartridge. The Tropic Thunder cartridge gives effects of a manageable and mellow buzz with top notes of floral aromas ending in an herbaceous flavor. It’s perfectly packaged to bring to a picnic with your favorite people.

Bio Jesus comes as a pre-roll for those who like to keep it simple. The great thing about pre-rolls is that it gives the consumer samples of strains without having to buy more than you need. This strain produces a euphoric haze and helps reduce symptoms of insomnia.

Wedding Cake has gained popularity in the last few years, and according to Weedmaps, is the most popular strain of 2021. It’s a hybrid of Triangle Kush and Animal Mints and tastes like-- you guessed it, cake. This strain comes in many forms but the disposable vape is highly convenient to pack on the go.

If you’ve got an oral fixation, maybe a gummy edible would work for you. Though edibles are slow and steady, they don’t miss when it comes to the high. Pink Lemonade comes in a chewy form if you don’t want your house smelling like you hotboxed it. This strain has notes of lemon, grapefruit, and pineapple. It’s like summertime in a bite, and who doesn’t like that?

The Future of Strange Names

As breeders continue to crossbreed phenotypes and modify effects, the naming will be limitless. Because there are dupes of popular strains infiltrating the market, as time goes on, the names will more so reflect the branding of the growers or companies so they can stand out from the crowd. 

Maybe you’ll be open to trying something like Cheetah Piss in the near future. Let’s hope it tastes better than it sounds.