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MJ Lifestyle Issue 01 Digital

EDUCATOR EMMA CHASEN /

EDUCATOR EMMA CHASEN / @ECHASEN Most of us in and around Cannabis are all too familiar with the terms Indica and Sativa. If I had a dollar for everytime a stoner bro told me that ‘Indica puts you totally in da couch’ and ‘Sativa just makes you crazy hype’, I’d be a very rich woman. But these terms are not only used by stoner bros of prohibition past. There are many people that are incredibly loyal to this classification system, believing that cultivars labeled ‘Sativa’ will be energizing and cultivars labeled ‘Indica’ will be sedative. I talk to people in the industry and community all of the time who refer to themselves as ‘Strictly Sativa’ or ‘Only Indica’. But what do they actually mean when they say this? If going by the scientific definition, Indica and Sativa refer to two species of Cannabis that have distinct morphological characteristics. In 1753, a man by the name of Carl Linnaeus classified Cannabis sativa and ascribed particular characteristics to this classification, such as tall stature, narrow-leafed with a loose flower structure. In 1785, Jean- Baptiste Lamarck traveled to India and came across a Cannabis plant that was quite short in stature with dense flowers and broad leaves. He felt that there were enough morphological distinctions between this plant and Linnaeus’ classification that he proposed another species of Cannabis. Because he was in India when he discovered this plant he named the species Indica. Indica and Sativa describe how two different types of Cannabis plants grow. To be clear, there is no account of Linnaeus or Lamarck consuming the Indica or the Sativa plant. In their classifications there is no mention that, when consumed, the Indica plant will make a person fall asleep and the Sativa plant will energize a person. Indica and Sativa, as they were originally defined, only refer to the way a plant will grow. So why do so many people believe that Indica and Sativa correlate to consistent experience? We’re not so sure how this came to be, but what we do know is that we can’t use Indica and Sativa to describe effect. Because even if Indica and Sativa did correlate to consistent experience at one point, everything on the market currently is genetically a hybrid. This is confirmed by Rob Clarke, renowned ethnobotanist. “All modern drug Cannabis varieties are hybrids.” The two species, Indica and Sativa, have been bred so many times that no Cannabis plant on the market exists with pure “Indica” or “Sativa” genetics. Unfortunately, we can’t rely on strain names to help us predict experience either. During prohibition, Cannabis breeding and cultivation were kept strictly in the closet. Growers and breeders had no actual naming conventions or accountability to adhere to when naming strains. Even in the legal market, growers and breeders change the name of strains all of the time for marketing purposes. Therefore, a Lemon Skunk I purchase from one dispensary may be vastly different from a Lemon Skunk I find at another dispensary. So if we can’t use strain names or the Indica/Sativa classification to help us determine effect, what do we use? The answer can be found inside of the plant matrix. The chemotype or chemical compounds ISSUE 01 92

found in the Cannabis flower determine the effect it will have when consumed. And those compounds can and do vary widely among Cannabis genetics. For every batch of flower grown, we must look to the actual compounds found inside of the plant matrix (as these are the things interacting with our physiology) to explain why some strains make us feel giggly or sleepy or sexy or hyper or somewhere in between. When we talk about these ‘compounds inside of the plant matrix’ we are referring to cannabinoids (THC,CBD, etc) and terpenes. Terpenes are the essential oils found in plants; they give plants their smell. But they also correlate to certain physiological effects. For example, a strain that smells like citrus may make you feel more euphoric. This is because of a terpene called limonene, found in the rinds of citrus fruits, that gives a pronounced anti-anxiety effect when consumed. The next time you’re in a dispensary ask your budtender to explain the compounds in each strain. Instead of relying on the terms Indica or Sativa to help you find your desired effect, make more informed choices by asking about the concentrations of THC, CBD and terpenes. And if those concentrations aren’t available, use your nose. Pick up a jar of Cannabis and deeply inhale. Do you smell citrus or a deep earthy grass? If you’re looking for something more euphoric pick up a strain with citrus notes. If you want something a little more relaxing go with that earthy cultivar. We can’t rely on Indica or Sativa to help us determine effect. If we buy flower solely based off of this classification we are doing ourselves a disservice. Something labeled ‘Indica’ may make us feel energized and something labeled ‘Sativa’ may make us feel relaxed. We need to rely on the compounds in the matrix to better predict our experience because the terms Indica and Sativa are just not good enough. Meet Mary J. Poppins, a name lovingly bestowed upon her for her creative and unothodox approach to schoolwork and lesson plans, founder of the Sativa Science Club. As a freelance Curriculum Specialist with a background in Community Health Education and socially conscious Business Management, Mary helped professionals take complex information and turn it into an easily accessible and engaging training program. What began as an intimate gathering of plant nerds in the back room of a local herb shop quickly grew into a network of thousands of engaged followers and students worldwide. She established the Sativa Science Club in early 2017 to take her passion one step farther adding third party peer review, curriculum publishing, and turnkey community education events. “I firmly believe that treating education as a product or commodity is a slippery slope. Rather than encourage privatized education or focus our efforts exclusively on certification programs, SSC is taking the first steps towards leading our community in a new direction,” Mary explains. Businesses nationwide can take their marketing efforts to the next level with Sativa Science Club Publishing. In lieu of expending the time and energy to create an education program in-house (a process which is often costly and ill received), SSC invites businesses to sponsor a third party, peer-reviewed community lesson. This allows their team to create low cost high quality E-books, audiobooks, webinars, and in-person lesson plans distributed anywhere for a very low cost online. 100% of the resulting proceeds from these items goes towards scholarships, research, and education initiatives with partnering Universities worldwide. The Sativa Science Club publications will be available on Amazon, Audible, and Kindle online. 93 @MJLIFESTYLE

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