Respecting cannabis cultivar names honours original breeders

Respecting cannabis cultivar names honours original breeders

What’s really in a name? Well, when it comes to cannabis, many Canadians still believe that the answer is: very little. Names like Blueberry, OG Kush, and Amnesia Haze are still widely perceived as baseless marketing ploys made by “street dealers” with little understanding of the true ancestry of their plant. Today, as the dust settles on legalization and companies scramble to own the world’s most sought-after cannabis genetics, many are realizing that there may be more to the story.

A big part of the problem is too much focus on blanket names like “indica” and “sativa” that do not specify genetic inheritance, breeder, or place of ancestry. Having specificity and consistency in the genetic background of the cannabis one regularly consumes is, despite popular belief, a key tool in reliably predicting the unique effect a particular cultivar will provide.

When names are consistently applied to specific types of genetically distinct plants (as most reputable growers have been doing since far before the age of legalization), names actually matter a lot.

Could you imagine if wine companies questioned the value of telling their consumers the specific type of grape used to make their wine, choosing instead to opt for a generic “red” or “white” labelling? There is little debate that Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes truly exist as distinct grape types and that those grapes were bred and processed by highly specialized wine cultures that understood quality. Cannabis, on the other hand, is still mistakenly viewed by many as coming from a cultureless void, and this perspective truly does stand to be corrected.

The truth about this industry has always been that if you look closely, you will find some real masters at work: farmers, breeders, and seed junkies with boundless passion and, in some cases, a rigorous scientific approach. Today, many of the more established breeders work directly with laboratories in order to map the genome of their plants, establishing a clear record of the genetic relationship to other mapped cultivars as well as noting the unique biochemical and morphological traits of each variety as expressed in a particular environment.

To those of us who have dedicated our lives to this plant, cannabis names encrypt a whole host of technical and cultural information into a single word that maintains the bond between a particular plant and its breeder, seed collector, or place of ancestry. Further, names like Blueberry, Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies, and Congolese are forever bound to certain expected flavour profiles and growth characteristics in the minds of those who bred, grew, and/or enjoyed these names time and time again.

Getting rid of names assigned by the original breeder or seed collector ultimately deprives experienced consumers of reconnecting with the legendary classics they love, but perhaps even sadder than that, it creates a marketplace where having a rich cultural and sensory experience that goes beyond simply “getting high” is difficult, if not impossible, to achieve.

Let me put it this way: Blueberry is a masterpiece, like a good movie made long ago that we have all enjoyed many times, with few ever knowing who wrote and directed it. D J Short’s work was truly foundational to the future of cannabis breeding, demonstrating what could be achieved when trait selection was focused on flavour rather than purely aiming to increase potency or productivity.

As a flower or concentrate vendor at any level of the distribution chain, you do not want to sell some “Blueberry” knockoff—you want to rep the real thing by its true name or risk being called out by influential tastemakers as another clueless cannabis producer/vendor.

Calling Blueberry anything other than Blueberry would be a disrespect to Short, the consumers who love his work, and the culture of cannabis breeding and growing as a whole. Truly, this would be a violation of the rites of passage that the underground cannabis community has held sacred for so long.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD), and terpene readings alone—like the terms indica and sativa—are, in the end, insufficient pieces of information to know if a particular cultivar will match an experienced consumer’s preference. Cannabis names as used by the established community of breeders and growers actually provide the most precise and relevant language to refer to specific cannabis cultivars that are already well-known by consumers. Period.

Cannabis names, despite how odd they may appear, should actually mean more, not less, as we move further into legality, with each officially catalogued name clearly tying back to a specific breeder or seed company that can verify authenticity and demonstrate knowledge of the specific ancestry and expected traits of the plant. Names may sound funny, but—trust me—they all mean something to the person (or people) who created or collected those seeds/cuts, as well as to the consumers who have come to know and love the qualities of that particular cultivar.

In the old-school underground cannabis community, when a classic black-market variety like OG, which has many different versions, is being re-created by a particular breeding group, it is customary to add another word to identify which specific type of OG is being referred to, as in the case of Raskal OG, Emerald Triangle OG, or DeadHead OG, each of which is constituted out of distinct parent varieties. Because, yes, it matters which OG it is—and someone out there cares.

The sooner we all wrap our heads around this, the closer we will be to living in the globally recognized cannabis mecca that Canada should be.


Written by Adolfo Gonzalez
Image by Get Budding
Originally published by Straight Cannabis on December 11, 2019.


Welcome to CannaReps!
Please read and submit the following Waiver & Release to continue your enrolment confirmation.

WAIVER & RELEASE (the “Release”)

This event is conducted by CannaReps Consulting Ltd. (“CannaReps or Company”). Please read and submit below.

I am an attendee at an event hosted by CannaReps (the “Workshop“). I release CannaReps from any and all liability, claims, demands, actions and causes of action whatsoever arising out of or related to any loss, damage or injury, including death, that may be sustained by me while participating in the Workshop.

I understand and agree that:

  • Any cannabis or cannabis products that I bring to the Workshop is from my personal supply and was lawfully purchased.
  • I will not possess in excess of thirty (30) grams of cannabis, unless I am lawfully permitted to possess more under the applicable regulations. If I am in possession of medical cannabis, I will not share my medical cannabis.
  • I will not distribute, sell, display, consume, or lose custody of the cannabis or cannabis products that I bring to the Workshop and will adhere to all applicable laws, and regulations.
  • Any promotional material I bring to the Workshop is in accordance with the applicable laws, and regulations. I will include the promotion of the safe consumption of cannabis.
  • CannaReps reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to eject, disqualify, or remove any exhibition or person for the contravention of any applicable laws and regulations.
  • The use of cannabis or cannabis products may impair your judgment, ability to react. By law, you should not drive or operate heavy machinery while under the influence. Please read the statutory rules and regulations surrounding cannabis in your jurisdiction for clarification.
  • Any advice or recommendations given by CannaReps is for informational and educational purposes only and CannaReps does not warrant or guarantee the completeness or correctness or the information provided.
  • I freely and voluntarily accept and fully assume all such risks, dangers, and hazards associated with attending the Workshop.
  • I certify that I am over the age of 19. This Release shall be effective and binding upon my heirs, next of kin, executors, administrators, assigns and representatives in the event of my death or incapacity.


Any confidential or proprietary information or material relating to the Company’s operations or business which I obtain from the Company or its officers, employees, agents, suppliers or customers or otherwise by virtue of my participation with the Company or by the Company’s predecessor. Confidential or proprietary information or material includes, without limitation, the following types of information or material, both existing and contemplated, regarding the Company or its parent, affiliated or subsidiary companies: corporate information, including contractual licensing arrangements, plans, strategies, tactic, policies, resolutions, patents, trademarks, printed or digitized materials, handouts and brochures. Including any marketing information including sales, investment and product plans, customer lists, strategies, methods, customers, prospects and market research data. Including trade secrets; technical information, including drawings, designs, personal information (the “Confidential Information”).

I understand that the copyright and proprietary interest of any material provided to me belongs to CannaReps. All shared experiences from the Workshop are to remain confidential and private. I agree not to disclose any of the information learned during the Workshop outside of the Workshop except with others who attend the Workshop. I will not use any audio or video recording equipment during the Workshop, unless CannaReps approves of the recording and filming by providing prior written consent. I understand that any audio or video recording made during the Workshop is the property of CannaReps. I will not use CannaReps’ information for business or commercial purposes, without first obtaining the prior written consent of CannaReps.


I understand, acknowledge and agree that all copyright, trademarks, trade secrets, intellectual property rights, and any other rights arising from any designs, and all of the work products and materials conceived, developed or created by the CannaReps and any rights ancillary thereto (collectively, “Intellectual Property Rights”) which were solely or jointly with others, conceives, designs, creates, derives, develops or makes in the course of or in connection with the work with CannaReps shall belong solely to CannaReps. If you haven’t already, you shall promptly disclose to CannaReps in writing any and all Intellectual Property Rights, conceived, created, derived, developed or made in the course of or otherwise in connection with my participation with CannaReps, whether alone or with others, and whether during work shop hours or through the use of facilities and properties of CannaReps.


I agrees to indemnify and hold harmless CannaReps, its officers and directors, employees and its affiliates and their respective successors and assigns and each other person, if any, who controls any thereof, against any loss, liability, claim, damage and expense whatsoever (including, but not limited to, any and all expenses whatsoever reasonably incurred in investigating, preparing or defending against any litigation commenced or threatened or any claim whatsoever) arising out of or based upon any false representation or warranty or breach or failure by me to comply with any covenant or agreement made by me herein or in any other document furnished by me to any of the foregoing in connection with this transaction.


Notwithstanding the immediately preceding paragraph, I consent to and grant CannaReps, the Workshop, and its assignees, the right to photograph and record me, my name, voice, appearance and likeness and other material furnished by me for use on trusted online media which include, but are not limited to, their website and social media pages. My hereby release said matter in perpetuity to CannaReps without prejudice and acknowledge that this consent is freely given without expecting compensation.

By submitting my email address below, I agree to receive electronic communication from CannaReps including personal course information, news, updates and promotions regarding CannaReps’ products. I understand that I can withdraw my consent at any time.


Protecting your privacy is important to CannaReps. This Privacy Policy (“Privacy Policy”) set outs the ways in which we use your information and how we ensure its protection.

CannaReps will only collect personal information (“Information”) that will allow us to provide, enhance, market or improve our events and services. Information is collected by means of registration for any CannaReps sponsored event or service. Information collected may include name, age, gender, address, email address, payment information, and geographical information.

CannaReps may share Information. CannaReps retains the right to share Information and other statistics with our partners, prospective advertisers, and other third parties for the purposes of improving, protecting, enhancing, and promoting our events and services. CannaReps may also disclose information to our affiliates, agents, contractors, and service providers in order to facilitate the functioning and maintenance of our events and services. We will not sell any information to advertisers or other third parties.

This Privacy Policy only covers the treatment of Information and other non-identifiable information gathered by CannaReps. This Privacy Policy does not apply to the practices of any third-party services. CannaReps does not take responsibility for the content or privacy policies of any third parties. CannaReps recommends that you review the privacy policies of any third-party service providers or events you access, use, or register for through our events or services.

This Privacy Policy has been established to help you understand our commitment to protecting your privacy. CannaReps reserves the right, at any time, to change or replace any portion of our Privacy Policy. You will be notified of any changes, if we believe, they materially impact your experience at our events or services. Continued use of our services after any change to the Private Policy constitutes an acceptance of those changes.

By submitting this Release and providing Information during the registration process, including the Exhibitor’s Agreement, you consent to the collection and use of your Information for these purposes.

If you have any questions or concerns please email us at