Logically, the concept of quality control and standardization is still new in the rapidly expanding world of legalized medical and recreational marijuana.
Fabulous strains (and names) of weed in one state may sound familiar when you go to purchase them in another, but who knows if they actually are the same strain?
A company called Medical Genomics is attempting to deal with this issue by creating a repository of cannabis genomes and storing them on the Bitcoin blockchain, which is basically a distributed database that maintains a continuously-growing list of records called “blocks.”
Medical Genomics is doing this in the hope of standardizing strain terminology so that customers always know what they’re getting from state-to-state and dispensary-to-dispensary. It also serves to defend the intellectual property rights of those who breed new strains.
Medicinal Genomics does not test pot plants for microbial contaminants nor to determine their CBD content, but rather they are geared toward offering their clients the ability to sequence the genome of their cannabis plants. It’s basically a type of cannabis copyrighting.
We know there are hundreds of cannabis strains in the world and that growers are busy creating more all the time. What sets each of these strains apart cannot be determined with a quick sniff or puff-puff. One has to look at the plant’s DNA.
Back in the day, the name didn’t matter much, as long as it was decent weed and did its job. But now that pot is becoming a regulated industry in 25 (and counting) states, the name of the strain matters.
As Motherboard points out, while we may be turning into pot snobs, it is important to ensure that a strain has consistent qualities if we intend to use it effectively as a medicine.
Large growers, says Motherboard, are already thinking about securing intellectual property rights for their strains. The first patent for weed, Sweet and Sour Widow, was filed with the U.S. Patent Office in 2015 by the Biotech Institute of California.
Medicinal Genomics saw this as an opportunity to create a technique to allow customers to register their strains on the Bitcoin blockchain and hopefully avoid any legal battles over strain name and ownership.
As to be expected, Medicinal Genomics has sparked a race among growers to get their strains analyzed and registered.
While it is not the same thing as getting a patent on your beloved strain, it can protect the grower in case someone else files a patent for that particular strain.
It all sounds complicated, but with pot legalization underway in so many states, standardizing is not a bad idea for growers or consumers.
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