Sespe Creek ordered some clones from Strain Bank in Los Angeles that were advertised as Charlotte’s Web, a true hemp strain known to relieve epilepsy. We have a growing waiting list of patients waiting to get cuts of this plant from us, and lots of anticipation to finally carry this well-known therapeutic strain. But this is not at all what we were in fact sold, as documented by multiple plant leaf tests. Strain Bank advertises its genetics are “verified” and “authentic” but repeatedly refused our requests to see any prior verification.
In our previous garden we grew Cannatonic, Canna-Tsunami and Sour Tsunami from seeds. Once the plants had reached a certain height we were advised by our lab that we could do leaf testing to determine which plants would have the most desirable cannabinoid profile because you can predict from the ratio of THC to CBD in the leaves an idea of what the ratio of THC to CBD will be in the flowers. No one is implying the overall mg/g of cannabinoids in the leaves compares to what it will be in the flowers. But the ratio of THC to CBD remains quite consistent. This has been well-documented.
We selected Strain Bank because of its alleged commitment to quality and verified genetics. When we initially raised our concern we were put in touch with a woman who apparently has the mother plant, and tried to explain our concerns. She felt adamant that we were being lied to by our lab, and wanted to explain how “no one gets high from smoking water leaves, of course you’re not going to see as high numbers when you test the water leaves.” We tried to explain to her, to no avail, that’s not the point we were making at all. The results predict a strain high in THC with only trace amounts of CBD. In fact, the water leaves alone were showing over 6% THC, more than the flowers of the strain should have.
Greg at Strain Bank insists, with no scientific evidence to support his claims, that we have to wait until the plant is flowered out to do the test and determine if this is Charlotte’s Web or not. I challenge this policy based on 1. a basic understanding of plant science and 2. their whole business model premise of doing genetic authenticity verification of strains they carry. We question what genetic testing is useful for anyway. Yes, we know it’s cannabis. What’s useful is to know the cannabinoid and terpene profiles. If they test plants as they say, they should have absolute confidence about the plants their offering and be transparent about providing the results. No one should wait to flower plants out before deciding whether to keep them as mothers or not. It’s a waste of time and resources, and in this case just adds costly insult to injury. In fact, we will continue to flower these clones out as a mystery high THC strain (potentially, depending on our own conditions going forward of course) named Gullible’s Travels, or maybe Duper’s Delight, or perhaps Wilbur or “Some Pig” in homage to the strain it was supposed to be.
Sespe has invested spent thousands of dollars raising plants for clones and getting our patient’s hopes up, on a plant that has the opposite cannabinoid profile of what the name would imply, and could even cause unwanted side effects if a patient is consuming an extract for CBD but gets a dose full of THC instead.
Let this be a lesson to anyone growing a particular strain with the intent to produce a specific, not random, cannabinoid profile! We highly recommended leaf testing during the vegetative state for anyone growing their own strains to determine which plants will produce the desired medicinal effect.