Temescal Wellness, a vertically integrated cannabis dispensary operating in 3 states including Massachusetts, has begun offering a new cannabis product called Perch Harvest. Stories continue to circulate concerning problems with the unconventional naming of cannabis cultivars. As pathways to federal legalization become clearer, scientists and lawyers are weighing in on the foreseeable challenges the industry is likely to face from lawsuits over a variety of issues including copyright infringements. But, for Temescal Wellness, it’s all about providing customers with the information they need to make an informed decision. Linda Katz, VP of Sales and Marketing at Temescal Wellness, took some time to address my questions concerning the company’s reasoning behind introducing such an innovative product like Perch Harvest.

Please tell me about Perch Harvests and their three cultivars, Nest, Hover and Fly. 

  • Nest – Comprised of options meant to relax, mellow and calm users, Nest is for anyone looking to unwind with a good book or movie after a long day – and is popular for individuals yearning for a “couch-lock” sensation. This is most notably the Indica-Dominant varietals (i.e. the strains that typically provide a sense of deep body relaxation), often having higher amounts of the terpenes Linalool and Myrcene.
  • Hover – Hover will feature strains that have a  balance of relaxation and mood enhancement from their consumer’s reported effects. Containing a variety of hybrids, Hover is a great option for those who’re not looking for a particular overarching effect but may want the flexibility to consume cannabis on their own schedule.
  • Fly –  Reported to have an energizing and motivating effect, this Perch Effect may help stimulate creativity while providing a euphoric mood booster. This effect will contain a majority of the Sativas (i.e. cannabis strains that tend to provide a more energizing experience) in each harvest. 

Why offer a cannabis flower product like Perch Harvests that differentiates itself more on how it’s named than anything else?

Our goal with Perch Harvests is to encourage an educational and impactful connection between Nest, Hover, and Fly with the consumer’s reported effects. We will continue to provide strain identification for those who would like to make their flower choice based on their familiarity with a specific strain. Our goal is to deliver the best product we can, along with a way to help consumers navigate the cannabis flowers we produce more easily.

Should customers at Temescal Wellness expect more products from Perch Harvests eventually?  

 We are excited to announce the next range of Perch Harvest products will be PRJs and we anticipate launching these in our Massachusetts locations soon. We are constantly evaluating our products and strains to determine the right mix based on market demand and insights.

Can you expand on your thoughts on the current naming convention for cannabis strains? Do you see any flaws in it?

The current naming convention is complex, drawing from roots in different geographies, lineage, diverse farmers and often with a nod to effects. As for flaws, there’s not much we can do to go backwards, many of these strain names have cemented their place in cannabis history. Perch Harvest represents a way forward that recognizes the importance of strain names while helping consumers to navigate that inherent complexity.

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Some people have suggested that there are over 10,000 different strains of cannabis out there. Do you think that is entirely accurate? If not, please expand.

If you consider each different genetic expression you will get a lot of combinations. Depending on where you are looking from, you’ll see from that perspective. For example, how the U.S. Patent office views a strain may be different than how a consumer or a review site, such as Leafly, might view a unique strain.

I have been to dispensaries all over the U.S. and Canada. In the end, when I make a decision on a purchase, I shrug my shoulders and think, well I don’t think I have ever tried this strain before. Let’s give it a try! You mentioned in your press release that the, “purchasing experience can be an overwhelming and intimidating process.” When a customer looks at the variety of products found in dispensaries, not necessarily just yours, is your overall impression that they leave with a clear understanding of what exactly they have purchased?

We have a great staff working at our stores, and they are very knowledgeable about the specific strains and the different experiences consumers report. We lean on their knowledge a lot to help educate consumers. At the same time, people can report varying effects even with the same product. The goal is to help them feel empowered and well educated on the factors they find important when selecting and consuming cannabis. Temescal Wellness’ overall impression is that guests should leave with a clear understanding of what exactly they have purchased, but we understand that not every cannabis company relies on consumer education as much as we do, so that may not always be the case.

There have been a number of articles published lately challenging the naming convention of cannabis strains. Do you think that dispensaries around the country are reconsidering the products they offer based on finding a more informative way of presenting them to customers?

I can only speak for Temescal Wellness, whether we call them strains, or we call them cultivars, we are working towards improving  the guest experience within our stores. We do this by conducting terpene testing on our Perch Harvest strains and obtaining feedback from consumers to help determine the best fit for each Perch Effect. Federal prohibition is a real issue when it comes to scientific research, and the overall hope is that we could involve the whole scientific community in helping to drive cannabis research. 

Could you see the current naming convention of cannabis cultivars being challenged by federal regulatory bodies if it is ever rescheduled/descheduled on the federal level?

When cannabis prohibition is finished, how the plant is governed will hopefully be a combination of public, government and industry perspectives put into sensible regulations. 

I’ve been told that just like alcohol can get a person drunk, THC can get a person high. Is the CBD:THC ratio of a cannabis strain indicative of unique effects at all?

The entourage effect of CBD:THC must play a factor, however, other cannabinoids and terpenoids seem to impact effects as well. The idea of aromatherapy lends some credence here, and similarly, there are many potential fruitful areas for scientific research to help us better understand the cannabis plant.

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What role do terpenes play in a cannabis strain outside of the way they taste and smell? I see that on the Perch Harvest product page they associate certain terpenes with indica-dominant strains and sativa-dominant strains. It is common to see myrcene, limonene and a couple other terpenes on product display tags at dispensaries. Should that mean something more to a customer than just that the product may have a lemony or piney taste and smell to them?

Continuing with the analogy to aromatherapy, although the research is limited, it does show promise with regards to specific terpenes having an impact on mood, and creating effects, like lemon oil helping with mood. 

If a customer were to come into your store and ask for a strain that would help them with let’s say, back pain, what do you think would be the best response by one of your budtenders?

Our team is experienced, both personally, and with the interactions of 1000’s of guests. Their recommendations draw from that knowledge and experience. While there is no clear cut answer to offer, our knowledgeable staff would discuss 1:1 with that guest and give an educated and personalized recommendations based on their needs, lifestyle and additional factors.

Cannabis is often compared to wine in terms of how consumers shop for it. While taste and smell is certainly a very important part of the cannabis consumer’s experience, the unique effects of a particular cultivar is, in my opinion, the biggest factor in their decision making. That is not the case with wine though. Is it fair to compare cannabis to wine at all in your opinion? 

 There are valuable comparisons with wine, as an agricultural product, offering many varietals, wine connoisseurs have well developed palate and knowledge of the year, region, quality of each bottle produced. When it comes to effects it’s not apples to apples, cannabis is unique in that sense.