Cannabis breeding is a complicated world involving plant genetics, soil composition, a comprehensive understanding of cultivation and curing, and more. It’s not just putting a seed in the ground and watching it grow. Cannabis breeding is what has made so many varieties or strains of cannabis possible today.
Legends That Made It Possible
Legendary cannabis breeders such as Neville Schumacher, Scott Blakely, and countless others have helped develop new varieties of the plant that so many people love. In the early 80s, there was a seed company selling Skunk genetics along with a handful of other popular genetics of the time. Cannabis seed breeding was starting to grow in popularity even under federal prohibition. When the feds raided and shut down the seed company some of the genetics made their way from California to Holland – Early Girl, Early Pearl, Skunk, Haze, and Northern Lights and from here a plethora of cannabis strains were born.
To breed cannabis, you need both male and female plants. Females are responsible for commercial cultivation. They produce sticky resinous buds without seeds. However, to seed a crop of females to produce new genetics you must use a strong male plant. A good strong male cannabis plant can efficiently pollinate 20 or so females covering them with seeds. When you use a different male or female plant for breeding, the result is called a hybrid, and the new seed takes characteristics of both parent plants.
When breeding cannabis seeds sometimes you’ll run across phenotypes. These are seeds from a particular genetic line that display characteristics that are not typical to that specific variety of genetics.
To make it even more complicated, there’s also the process of backcrossing cannabis genetics. This is the process of cross-pollinating a strain with itself to strengthen genetics, amongst many other things.
Breeding Roots for the Future
There’s a difference between breeders and growers. Breeding cannabis is a science that has some of the deepest roots in the Netherlands. Breeding cannabis doesn’t have to be a super science project you learn all at one time. If you live in a place where you can grow cannabis and have an interest in breeding, you should give it a try. Who knows, you might come up with the next blazing and amazing cannabis strain.