What's in a Name?

The art and science of giving monikers to strains

Caleb Walsh illustration

When Adam had named the cattle, named "the fowl of the air" and "every beast of the field," the forgotten flora felt, understandably, slighted. Along came the alchemists and herbalists, the scientists and biologists and other -ists of yore with their esoteric taxonomies and impossible-to-pronounce Latin nomenclatures. What a fine flowering herb with palmately compound leaves, they said of the pungent plant christened Cannabis sativa. But it's just a "weed," said the straight-edge suits and laymen; it's just "dope." And it was so.

Until, that is, an awakening bestowed upon stoners the world over the linguistic ability to label the plant's many varieties with the same bizarre and idiosyncratic nonchalance afforded the namers of Thoroughbred racing horses. Giddy-up.

James Myers, manager and buyer at Satori's South Hill location, says Girl Scout Cookies, of which the store stocks seven or eight different phenotypes, is "literally one of the West Coast favorites" (blame rapper Wiz Khalifa). The infamous hybrid produces heavy body effects, says Myers, but still imbues an "enlightened" feeling. And because the strain is part Durban Poison (an energetic pure sativa), part OG Kush (a trance-inducing and medicinal indica-dominant hybrid), it is known, according to The Cannabist, as "the Jekyll-and-Hyde of marijuana."

An offspring of the aforementioned Girl Scout Cookies, Do Si Dos (blended with the hypnotic Face Off OG) is a bit deceiving in name. Because it's a mash-up of "very strong strains," Myers says it's more "get off work and do-si-do home and get onto the couch and relax" than hit the grange for a square dance.

The word Chernobyl brings to mind radioactive fallout, abandoned cities and the collapse of the USSR, but this sativa-dominant hybrid, says Myers, is "definitely [more] uplifting." It's a focused high, he says, with "smooth body effects" and a "bright, popping" effect, but it might not be gnarly enough to warrant the moniker of the world's worst nuclear disaster.

Chocolope (no relation to the mythical jackalope) is a beloved sativa-dominant marriage between Chocolate Thai and Cannalope Haze (High Times named Chocolope its Strain of the Year in 2007). Its earthy flavor and dreamy, euphoric character has been praised by people battling stress and depression (not surprisingly, it's most popular in our dark and wet corner of the country, says Leafly). It's old news now: Chocolate makes you happy.

"It'd be easy to get lost surfing the web while using this strain," says a reviewer on Leafly of Lodi Dodi. No Creedence Clearwater Revival, Snoop Dogg or Slick Rick connections here, as the name would suggest (the mysterious strain is bred exclusively by a grower on the I-5 corridor near Seattle), but its tropical fruit and flowery flavor does scream "California!" If the reviewer is right, you need only inhale and dive into a Google image search to go there. ♦

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