News / Toronto

How should we name medical marijuana in Canada?

After someone named a strain of marijuana after former Toronto mayor Rob Ford, a battle over what to call the new prescription drug is lighting up.

Ontario marijuana producer Tweed is rebranding strain names to make them more suitable for medical consumption. So, Super Silver Haze (pictured above) is now called Leonidas.

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Ontario marijuana producer Tweed is rebranding strain names to make them more suitable for medical consumption. So, Super Silver Haze (pictured above) is now called Leonidas.

Bubbling quietly like each toke from a water bong, there’s a new war brewing in the world of pot.

This one’s not about where you can buy it, who’s standing behind the counter or who’s doling out prescription. It’s about what to call the actual products lining the shelves.

For some producers, there’s no place in the industry for names like Green Crack, AK-47 or, for that matter, Rob Ford Kush.

“We’re starting to see a delineation between the recreational use and medical use of marijuana. And when we look at something we want to use as a medicine, we expect there to be a certain amount of professionalism and discipline surrounding those drugs,” said Brent Zettl, the CEO of CanniMed, a licensed medical marijuana producer in Saskatchewan.

CanniMed’s catalogue doesn’t contain reference to toking politicians or terms like haze. Instead, their products are named for numbers that denote the concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) in each strain.

For example, their most potent product is called 22-1.

“If patients are going to utilize the material and doctors are going to prescribe it they have to know what's in it,” Zettl said. “Our goal is to demystify the components so that people can use it as a true medicine.”

At Tweed, an Ontario-based marijuana producer, common names for different strains have been rebranded to fit the company’s fabric-inspired image. So, what might be called AK-47 on the street is dubbed Herringbone.

“We’re first and foremost a medical marijuana producing company,” said Tweed’s communication manager, Jordan Sinclair, who noted many recreational names for marijuana strains don’t exactly conjure up images from the doctor’s office.

Nathaniel Morris, a former marijuana grower in California’s Humboldt County – what he referred to as “the Silicon Valley of weed” – said new strains of marijuana are typically named for their lineage.

“If you take the Trainwreck varietal and cross it with a hash plant, you’d call it something like Hashwreck,” he said. “But for the recreational market, it’s all fun and games and it doesn’t matter if someone wants to call their stuff Rob Ford Kush.”

With files from Angela Mullins and Gilbert Ngabo

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