Leafly Canada launched its new cannabis guide online Tuesday, which takes extensive data on thousands of different strains and produces simplified “flowers” to help consumers find their favourite product.
“Find your shape, find your colour, find your strain,” is the mantra of the new guide, which uses colours and shapes to help visualize strains.
Now all consumers need to worry about is if they prefer diamonds versus circles, and which of seven different colours they prefer. Leafly believes this will help users understand the effects of cannabis in a more sophisticated way rather than relying on the typical terms indica, sativa and hybrid.
Across Canada and the United States all licensed producers are required by law to test the potency and concentration of cannabis ingredients, which Leafly translated into diamonds for psychoactive tetrahydrovannabinol, or THC, and circles for relaxing cannabidiol, or CBD.
The flavour and taste of cannabis, which comes from oils called terpenes, are simplified into seven different colours, despite over 100 different terpenes being found and mapped in cannabis according to Leafly.
“Cannabis has unique physiological effects for each of us. As our understanding of cannabis grows, so does our need for a more sophisticated, yet intuitive language to help people navigate the very personal effects cannabis has,” said Leafly CEO, Tim Leslie, in a press release.
“While indica, sativa, and hybrid are a starting point for understanding cannabis, this form of categorization doesn’t take advantage of our growing understanding of the effects of the various compounds found within the plant.
What’s a terpene? Leafly offers canna-users an easy guide
Terpenes are best thought of like types of beer, explains the guide. Some beer drinkers like crisp, light citrusy lagers while other beer aficionados will swear by their dark, rich, chocolatey porters despite both beers having a similar alcohol content.
The centre of the flower is a diamond or circle, to show whether the strain’s dominant cannabinoid is THC or CBD, with the flower’s petals blooming from the centre in various shapes to visualise other cannabinoids present in the strain.
Sour Diesel is a sativa, or THC-dominant strain, so the centre of its flower is a diamond, with sharp diamond petals branching outwards. This signals a potent dose of THC, or a stronger high.
The flower is also three colours, which represent the three dominant terpenes in the strain.
The centre of the flower is burgundy, for caryophyllene, a peppery-flavoured terpene. The petals bloom into yellow citrusy limonene with a hint of herbal myrcene.
Consumers glancing at this flower can know it’s a strong, energizing high.
Opposite of that is Harle-Tsu, which is all circles, signaling a CBD-dominant strain, with blue petals for the earthy flavours of myrcene, orange for fruity terpinolene, and a hint of rich green for the pine-flavours of pinene.
This strain is more calming than energizing, while still offering an uplifting, relaxed high.
Unique combination of data and customer-generated reviews
While science has lagged behind with prohibition, millions of user reviews have allowed Leafly to create an extensive database to guide consumers to their preferred flavour profiles.
Cannabis strains with energetic, creative highs are brighter coloured with minty reds, fruity oranges and zesty lemon. Strains with calmer, more soothing flavours are floral-like lilacs and herbaceous greens.
Curious consumers who aren’t sure what experience they’re looking for can explore Leafly’s strain explorer, where consumers can browse by effects, such as energizing, euphoric or arousing; terpene flavours, such as fruity, zesty or peppery; or for different aspects of wellness, such as what to take for insomnia, pain relief or anxiety. Leafly even has curated autumn-themed lists of strains, where consumers can browse the best fall-spice flavours, or strains to help you cheer on your team (and playfully yell at the refs).
More experienced consumers can build their own flower to explore strains with their preferred cannabinoids and terpenes. The visual guide also makes it easy to find new similar strains to try.
The flowers are compilations of data from hundreds of different producers, which helps consumers identify the reliability behind the strain’s name. For example a flower in the the guide might vary in colour and the
The guide is built on averages with data coming in from hundreds of different producers, according to Leafly. Therefore a Blue Dream strain in the guide may look different to a specific producer’s Blue Dream. Same name, but slightly different petal shapes and colours, suggesting varying potency and flavours, which will help empower consumers to know if a product is always what it says it is.