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What Strain is That? A Guide to Alternative Cultivar Names

A cultivar of cannabis flower is the same anywhere, so you would expect it to have the same name from state to state, right? Well, due to regulations in certain states, cultivators and dispensaries may need to call the cultivar by something other than its traditional name. That could make for a confusing experience in the dispensary if you’re looking for a specific cultivar, only to find it has been relisted under a new moniker. Why does this happen, and how can you tell if the cultivar you’re looking for is in disguise?

Why are strain names different in some states?

Some states recommend cultivators and dispensaries modify cultivar names so as not to appeal to children, promote illicit drugs, or amplify misinformation. This leads cannabis businesses to create menus that might look quite different from those in states where cultivar names are unrestricted or less restricted. Where do these guidelines come from?

State regulations

State regulations and the primary reason cultivar names in a given market may be vastly different than in other states. In some cases, states may tell dispensaries to change certain cultivar names from their familiar monikers to those considered less appealing from a marketing perspective. You may encounter alternative cultivar names in cannabis dispensaries in Pennsylvania and Ohio, for example.

Overwhelmingly, the renamed cultivars include references to sweet treats, illicit substances, or fictional characters that may appeal to children. These are often abbreviated instead of being renamed completely. In dispensaries in these states, you might be hard pressed to find strains like Ice Cream Cake, for example, and instead should look for “ICC”.

Copyright and trademark infringement

Cultivar names have been known to change for reasons beyond state regulations. However, these types of changes usually take place in every legal cannabis market and aren’t usually confined to one state’s dispensaries. Oftentimes, this is the result of a copyright or trademark lawsuit.

A famous example of this is the lawsuit filed by Gorilla Glue against the creators of the cannabis strain by the same name. Today, the strain appears as GG on dispensary menus across the U.S., regardless of state regulations, and all variations have been similarly changed (for example, GG #4). 

A similar case resulted in the renaming of the strain “Girl Scout Cookies” into GSC, a now common fixture on the menus of dispensaries anywhere. Other strains to undergo a name change due to copyright issues include Skywalker OG and Thin Mint.

Common abbreviations for popular cultivars

On the lookout for your favorite cultivar, but can’t find it at your local Ethos dispensary? You may see one of these 26 common cultivar abbreviations instead. Consult this list on your next trip to the dispensary as you seek out your favorite products.

  • BB Muff = Blueberry Muffin
  • BLS = Blue Lemon Slushie
  • Bubba C = Bubba Cake
  • CIC = Coffee Ice Cream
  • CNB = Cinnamon Buns
  • EBP = Elphaba’s Pie
  • GC = Green Crack
  • GFC = Grapefruit Cupcake
  • Grape C = Grape Cake
  • Grape A = Grape Animals
  • GSC = Girl Scout Cookies
  • HBC1 = Headband Cookies #1
  • HBC2 = Headband Cookies #2
  • ICC = Ice Cream Cake
  • JWC = Jawa Cake
  • LC = Lemon Cookies
  • MNC = Mandarin Cookies
  • MEJU = Melon Juice
  • MoPo = Moon Pie
  • MC = Moonshine Cookies
  • MRBE = Member Berry
  • Purple Z = Purple Zkittlez
  • SBC = Sour Banana Cookies
  • SGC = Sour Garlic Cookies
  • Watermelon Z = Watermelon Zkittlez
  • Yellow Sunshine = LSD

This is not an exhaustive list, and you may encounter some alternative abbreviations or variations of the cultivars listed above. But rest assured, these are the same cultivars you know and love – with a different name tag on the label.

Dispensary associates can help you navigate cultivar names

Whether you’re in a state where familiar cultivars have unfamiliar names, or you’re simply new to cannabis, Ethos’s helpful dispensary associates are always at the ready to help you navigate our menu. Simply ask an associate for the cultivar you’re looking for; even if it’s listed under a different name, they can point it out for you. Or, if you’re not sure which cultivar is right for you, a consultation with an Ethos associate or pharmacist can help get you on the right track to finding a product that offers you the experience and relief you’re after.

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