When you visit a cannabis dispensary, you might be a bit overwhelmed by strain names, Indica VS Sativa varieties, hybrids, and so on. Cannabis breeding is combining a male and female plant with desirable traits to form a new strain, usually called a hybrid. These traits include higher potency, better flavor, and aroma, as well as an increased yield.
Cannabis breeding is a fundamental botanical practice that has been around for many years. However, it has taken off in the last five years or so – thanks to policy reform with the legalization of medical and recreational use. For enthusiasts who are interested in home growing, understanding where your seeds come from is crucial. Otherwise, you can never be sure what you’re getting.
Cannabis Breeding Basics
Put simply, cannabis breeding involves male and female plants, and the female plants produce the buds we know and love. However, male plants are necessary for the breeding process, as parent male plants pollinate the females and add specific traits of their own. A popular strain in many dispensaries right now is Wedding Cake. This strain is a cross between OG Kush and a Cookies variety – these are known as the parent strains.
Identifying the male plant early is crucial to produce cannabis flowers. As soon as the male is identified, these plants are separated from the females. Otherwise, one male can pollinate all females in the vicinity, resulting in an abundance of seeds. The genetics of cannabis breeding is often hard to pinpoint since it is never an exact science. However, as long as you get quality seeds or cannabis products from reputable dispensaries, you increase your chances of knowing what you’re ingesting.
When we buy our favorite strains at a dispensary, they have usually been through the process of many generations of cannabis breeding. This process is intended to strengthen genetics to ensure quality, consistency, and the health of plants. No seed is a replica of a parent plant, and the result of rounds of cross cannabis breeding is different expressions of the original male and female. Just as we aren’t carbon copies of our parents, neither are hybrid strains in cannabis breeding. The resulting various traits of different combinations of parent straits are known as phenotypes.
When a strain is successfully crossed, the cannabis breeding process then involves selecting the hybrid that is most attractive to the grower. For large-scale processing facilities, for instance, the goal is typically to select the new strain that is best suited for mass production. For home growers, phenotypes that are favored include traits like smoothness, flavor, and aroma that the home grower likes the most. Growing your own at home can be a rewarding practice. Home growing saves money, and as you practice, you can select the phenotypes that include the traits of your favorite strains.
Specifics of cannabis breeding and the resulting products can be a bit confusing, especially for a new consumer. As always, the highly knowledgeable employees at Green Goddess Collective are here to answer your questions about cannabis breeding so you know what you’re getting before you ingest it. Know what you want? Check out our Venice Beach menu!