Strain vs. Strand - What Do You Call Your Weed?

Green Crack. Blue Dream. Hindu Kush. Tahoe OG. Cali O. Trainwreck. Northern Lights. Super Silver Haze. Herojuana. Sour Diesel. Jack Herer. Grand Daddy Purple. Afgoo. Lemon G. Chocolate Thai. Catpiss. Bullrider. Hawgs Breath. Chemdog…

These are some of the most well known and most popular…ummm… types of cannabis found on the market throughout the past ten or twenty years.

We have used many different terms to describe them over that period of time.

Chronic. Dank. Mids. Piff. Schwag. Fire. Meds. Buds. Nugs.

We have even tried to further classify them over the years based on their growth patterns and overall effects using terms like Indica, Sativa, or Hybrid – all of which are now becoming antiquated as we discover more about the role that terpenes and a full cannabinoid spectrum plays on those effects.

So it seems that the terminology that we use to describe our favorite plant is constantly evolving, which can lead to debates when two people are essentially speaking two different languages about a common topic. But we are pretty sure that we can put one of these debates to rest once and for all here in this article…

Having walked into hundreds of Cali MMJ dispensaries over the years, and volunteering in a handful of others, to me the proper term to describe different types, or kinds, of weed has always been ‘strain’.

Now, having put my 10,000 hours into that scene I’ve lost track of how many times a customer, a vendor, or even a fellow budtender has instead subbed in the word ‘strand’.

“Hi there, yeah I’m looking for an uplifting strand that will help me focus on perfecting my man-bun…”

Like fingernails dragging across a chalkboard, just the sound of it would instantly make my fists clench and my ears begin to bleed.

It seems to be more prevalent outside of California, but it’s really pretty simple no matter where you live.

A strand, as defined by the Oxford Dictionary, is “a single thin length of something such as thread, fiber, or wire, especially as twisted together with others.”

For example, “Man, I found a strand of your dog’s hair in my Catpiss!”

Ya dig?

As opposed to strain, which in plant terms is “a designated group of offspring that are either descended from a modified plant (produced by conventional breeding or by biotechnological means), or which result from genetic mutation.”

In other words, some cannabis strains are made by inserting new genetic material into an existing cannabis plant, then all the descendants of the genetically modified cannabis plant are a strain with unique genetic information that is passed on to later generations. The cannabis plants in the strain can be bred to other cannabis strains (or cultivars), and if desirable plants are produced (fat buds, stacked trichs, loud terps), these are further bred to stabilize those desirable traits. The stabilized plants that can be propagated and stay true to the parent plant are given a strain name and released into the market (or hoarded, if that’s your thing).

So how can people still get it twisted?

Ask Tommy Chong, who was using the word as recently as 2012, or The Huffington Post who was putting it in print in 2016, and again in 2017. Here is some site called Kushly also using the term last year, and this image popped up on my Instagram feed just last week!

C’mon folks. This is an easy one.

Next time you hear someone using the wrong term, try your hardest to resist any violent thoughts and instead refer them here to this article and maybe by the year 2038 we can make the word ‘strand’ sound as silly as the word reefer.

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