Today, the Missouri Division of Cannabis Regulation (DCR) issued new guidance regarding the use of the terms “Sativa,” “Indica,” and “Hybrid” on marijuana product packaging.

According to the latest directive from DCR, these terms may only be featured on marijuana product packaging if they are part of a logo or product name.

Importantly, the guidance prohibits referencing “Sativa,” “Indica,” or “Hybrid” as indicative of the side or behavioral effects of usage, underscoring that such designations do not accurately describe the effects of the product.

Historically, the terms were rooted in the botanical taxonomy of the cannabis plant, with “Sativa” and “Indica” referring to the physical characteristics and presumed origins of the plants. “Sativa” strains were believed to offer energizing effects, while “Indica” strains were associated with relaxation. However, with extensive cross-breeding through the years, nearly all modern cannabis strains are technically hybrids, blurring the lines between these traditional categories.

Research from experts like neurologist and medical researcher Dr. Ethan Russo challenges the validity of using “Sativa” and “Indica” classifications to predict the effects of cannabis on users. Dr. Russo points out that the lay literature’s common application of the Sativa/Indica distinction is “total nonsense and an exercise in futility,” as one cannot predict the biochemical content of a cannabis plant based on its physical appearance alone.

While that information has helped to lead to the general consensus among most industry professionals that the terms are antiquated and do not accurately represent a plant’s heritage or lineage accurately, these words have become synonymous with consumer understanding and an abbreviated explanation for an expectation of feelings for an average individual.

In an industry where there is a narrow balancing act between educating about side effects and what constitutes a potential benefit of marijuana products, slapping a buzzword on the packaging has allowed dispensaries and retail workers to quickly and easily assign an element of discernible expectation without delving too far into the information and explaining beyond their allowable scope.

Similar to light beer, or diet soda, certain words have become synonymous not because of their intrinsic accuracy – but instead because of what they quickly relay to consumers.

While the scientific community has been refuting the accuracy and relevance of the traditional categorization of cannabis cultivars into “Sativa,” “Indica,” and “Hybrid” for years, the retail element and the terms’ meanings to the layman are important to recognize for both the cannabis industry and regulators.

The timing of the change could seemingly be worsened, as the state and country are riddled with unregulated, untested intoxicating cannabis products on the shelves of unlicensed businesses with no laws or guidance over such products. Now words with decades of value as relating to marijuana may only be found on unregulated product, potentially creating more confusion for under-educated consumers.

While the industry has shifted towards labeling products based on specific cultivars, terpene profiles, and cannabinoid content, moving away from the outdated Sativa/Indica/Hybrid nomenclature, the immediate exclusion from packaging could have an unintended ripple effect beyond yet potentially costly change to packaging.

The post Expect your marijuana packaging to change again, DCR restricts use of common marijuana terminology on packaging appeared first on Greenway Magazine.