But in addition to the percentage of THC or CBD, there’s a lot more to the overall effects of cannabis. There are many cannabinoids and terpenoids that we haven’t studied, and these all can change what effects the buds will produce. Some growers are starting to breed for other traits besides color or THC/CBD levels, paying more attention to the nuances of different strains and their effects.
One problem with trying to stabilize a color, is it can cause breeders to pay less attention to how the plant grows, how buds smell, and what the effects will be.
Heterosis can sometimes be used to increase yields, uniformity, and vigor of the plants. When this happens, the result is known as “hybrid vigor.” Offspring from the same parents with hybrid vigor tend to grow the same as each other; plus they can grow faster, be stronger, and/or produce bigger yields than either of their parents.
This is basically how new strains are born, though there are several special techniques (explained below) to help you get to your goals as quickly and efficiently as possible.
The first thing you need to know is that all plants (and animals) get two version of each gene, one from each of their parents. The interaction between the two versions of a gene can have a huge effect on your plant.
Luckily for breeders, many heirloom and landrace genetics have been preserved through seeds. Some seed breeders like ACE Seeds and Cannabiogen offer some interesting genetics from landrace and heirloom strains.
Some strains are more “stabilized” which means that all the seeds of that strain display the same phenotype. All plants grow the same way. This stabilization is accomplished by careful breeding to ensure that all seeds only carry genes for the desired phenotype.
The strain Panama (shown below) is made from three heirloom strains:
Panama ’74, Green Panama & Colombian “Punto Rojo”
Here’s an example of two Ruderalis plants in the wild (pic taken in Russia)
Have you ever wanted to breed your own strains? This tutorial will teach you everything you need to know to get started breeding like the pros!
Have you ever purchased the same cannabis strain multiple times and noticed that it looked completely different each time? Maybe it even tasted slightly more sweet or sour than before. Or maybe you’ve grown the same strain repeatedly and realised how different one plant looked from the next? These differences within the same strain are referred to as genetic variability. Even though plants share the same lineage, their unique genetic expression, or phenotype, is a result of how their genetics respond to the environment.
Cloning is a transferable skill and even more essential to cannabis breeders than growers. You need to have a consistently high success rate with cloning as a prerequisite to breeding.
Before further breeding experiments, it’s no harm to practice collecting pollen and making seeds first. Breeding from a reliable batch is a good introduction to cannabis breeding.
This consistency is possible, and can be achieved by stabilising the genetics of a strain. This will then produce seeds that are more homozygous, featuring significantly less variability between phenotypes. But how can breeders go about stabilising a strain?
Genuine F1 hybrids can only be derived from crossing pedigree stabilised or landrace strains. They express genuine hybrid vigour. Unless you’re planning a strain hunting expedition, tracking down heirloom landrace seeds is hard graft. It’s probably more convenient to stick with the RQS catalogue for awesome hybrids.
F1 seeds can be produced with just a female marijuana clone. These seeds carry only the genetics of the mother. In order to accomplish this, the grower must reverse the sex of the female to induce self-pollination.
However, if an F1 hybrid cultivar is bred with an F1 hybrid cultivar from a different genetic line, a polyhybrid is formed. F1 hybrids already possess varying genetic traits from both parent strains, meaning polyhybrids are even more diverse and unpredictable in the traits they possess. Creating polyhybrids is a great breeding method as it allows you to combine unique traits from a wide spectrum of cultivars. Although, as you can imagine, these strains are quite unstable and heterozygous. It takes some solid work to stabilise these varieties and ensure that their offspring are more uniform.
Most home breeders will purposefully stress the flowering female to produce a few seeds. Selfing is commonly applied to clone-only marijuana varieties to convert it to F1 seed form.
Careful selective breeding in large numbers is required to succeed with this approach. Often it takes multiple generations of breeding perhaps until F5 (fifth generation) or even F6 (sixth generation) before the line can be stabilised.
If you have an amazing strain you want to preserve you need to read this blog. Lets talk about breeding your own weed strain.