The cannabis industry has a misinformation problem. Let’s jump straight into a prime example from the legal adult-use industry across the pond...

Do you prefer indica or sativa?

In cannabis retail stores across Canada and dispensaries in the U.S., products are typically categorised into indica-dominant, sativa-dominant or hybrid. Cannabis consultants, or budtenders, will advise consumers to expect an indica-dominant product to produce a sedating effect, possibly even leading to ‘couch-lock’ and therefore best consumed in the evening. Indica = In da couch. Whereas a sativa-dominant high is likely to be more energising or alerting and better suited for daytime consumption. With a hybrid, you can expect a combination of effects depending on the ratio of indica to sativa - whatever that means!

The problem?

It’s outdated nonsense. I know this all too well as I was responsible for teaching it to retail staff in cannabis stores across British Columbia, believing it to be world class cannabis education. The truth is indica & sativa are terms used to describe the morphology of the plant and have no bearing on the expected effects on the consumer. The cannabinoid and terpene profiles of a particular chemovar of cannabis are a better indicator of gauging expected effects.

To add to that, everyone’s endocannabinoid system is unique, cannabis affects us all differently and there is a need for cautious personal experimentation to find a product that works for your desired effect. We also have to consider a consumer’s mindset & setting prior to consumption as it will also play an important role in the overall cannabis experience, especially to a newbie.

So, why do cannabis retailers continue to sell cannabis in these categories?

Because it’s easy! Sativa & indica are simple terms to understand. It makes life easy for the budtender, the consumer and the producers marketing the products. As straightforward as it is to understand, it does little to help consumers to find the right product for them. We are sacrificing a more complicated truth in place of unfounded ease at the expense of the consumer.

What about the CBD industry?

Unfortunately, we see the same issues arise in the CBD industry which is riddled with misinformation. Let’s dive straight into some examples.

Almost every website mentioning CBD will tell you that it is a ‘non-psychoactive’ compound. However, according to Dr. Ethan Russo, this is an inaccurate term, given its prominent pharmacological benefits on anxiety, schizophrenia, addiction, and possibly even depression. More accurately, we should be describing CBD as ‘non-intoxicating’. (1)

In the UK, it is widely believed that the limit of THC in legal CBD products is 0.2%, but this is also a common misconception. The 0.2% THC threshold refers to various rules in relation to cultivation and import of hemp. Under the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001, ‘exempt product’ status allows for the presence of no more than 1mg of THC in any given CBD product – although this now appears to be under review.

Add to the examples above, the many unsubstantiated medical claims, CBD being hailed as a cure all and bogus products like CBD pillows being sold to vulnerable people genuinely seeking relief from CBD and it’s not a good look for the industry.

These examples are by no means an exhaustive list, but they are an indication that we as an industry need to do better to be consistently giving out the most up to date information to consumers. The cannabis industry is evolving at a fierce pace, and we have only scratched the surface on what we know about this powerful plant.

For the industry to progress in a better way, we need to be agile in our knowledge and education for the benefit of the consumer. Whether you’re involved in the medical, wellness or recreational side of the cannabis industry, the focus should always be on the end user experience.

We set up Sativa Learning with the aims of providing the most up to date & accurate cannabis training & education available. Our CBD Industry Professional course has been developed by industry experts and includes a legal module which is reviewed and approved every quarter by Mackrell Solicitors ensuring you receive the most current knowledge available.

We’re accredited by the CPD certification service to guarantee the content has been created to the highest standards of further learning. We are committed to providing cannabis organisations, entrepreneurs, jobseekers, academics, and medical professionals with the tools needed to cultivate a career in the cannabis industry.

As the cannabis industry grows worldwide, the gap in cannabis knowledge grows with it. We are here to bridge that gap. Enrol in your next CPD accredited cannabis course today; or get in touch with us for more information.

  1. Russo, Ethan. (2017). Cannabidiol Claims and Misconceptions. Trends in Pharmacological Sciences. 38. 10.1016/