Short for “cultivated variety,” cultivars are groups of cannabis plants that differ in appearance, aroma, and effect. In cannabis, the term “strain” is commonly used, though it is not used in traditional horticulture.

“I love growing this Maui Wowie cultivar because it’s so flavorful.”

“Certain cultivars produce more THC than others.”

What is a cultivar?

A cultivar, or “cultivated variety,” is often incorrectly called a “strain” in the cannabis world. But “strain” is not a common term in traditional horticulture. 

Cultivars differ in appearance, aroma, and effect, and are the result of long-term breeding and growing, to combine traits of other cultivars. Cultivars have names that often reflect their characteristics, for example, Sour Diesel is a strain named for its sour, fuel-like aroma.

Naming cannabis cultivars allows for some degree of consistency in the cannabis experience, giving you a reference point for one cultivar, and making it easy to find a similar one.

Every person’s endocannabinoid system interacts with different cultivars differently, so it’s important to know which cultivars work for you. Certain cultivars induce appetite or sleep better than others, and others promote creativity and sociability, while others can give a consumer a negative experience.