The Science Of Cannabis Breeding – A Kindle Excerpt


Becoming A Cannabis Breeder in Seven Steps
(Some basics and avoiding misinformation)

by Hemp Fancier, A.K.A. Marley The Hemp AdvisorAdvisor
Excerpt edited lightly by the totally amazing Reviewer Rob

[From “Step 6: Becoming A Breeder”. ]

Obtaining Your Own Genetics

The traditional way to obtain genetics of one’s favourite strains was through seeds found in the bud you purchased. Many modern Cannabis Users will never have found a seed, certainly a mature seed capable of germinating, in their buds. Many strains have begun from bag-seed, certainly older lines dating back to the 1970’s before seed-banks were either collected by travellers or from sometimes heavily seeded imported shipments. The modern Sensimilla trend (and expectation from buyers) has made this less common, given that many modern commercial growers may have bought seeds from seed-banks this may ultimately not mean that users miss out on the genetics. They may be able to find and purchase as many of seeds of the strain as they want, but it does mean that increasingly strains can be attributed back to only one or two seed-banks and a shrinking pool of ancestral plants. Skunk, Blueberry and Chem plants have heavy influence in many strains available today. ChemDawg was a bag-seed strain itself.

The problem then comes from the desire to have one’s own unique strain but without the availability of “unknown” strains to label as yours, how do you create a new and unique The usual solution is to just cross popular lines from major seed-banks and name the resulting offspring with the more popular “key words” from the parental lines and/or add an entirely unrelated “tag” word.The problems with re-branding widely available genetics with minimal recombination or deliberate selection of favourable traits are clear, it makes it hard to know what is different and tries to attach one’s own name to the successes of others.

Those plants which are most popular, that have been professionally selected by breeders because they feature traits that consumers desire are favoured. They likely have very little diversity and few undesirable characteristics. Unfortunately these apparent positives as a genetic source may have downsides for the species as a whole.Favourable traits may be discarded if their value is not recognised. Less diverse Cannabis seed stocks may also make the plant more vulnerable to pests or diseases, closely packed dense buds may be at greater risk from mould attacks. Even if a genetic line has clear benefits can be extinguished by lack of knowledge of it, restricted availability or fashion trends in cannabis strains. Various fashions have altered what is considered desirable, purple budded plants are sometimes favoured (mainly) because of their cosmetic appeal, or (less frequently) on the basis that the purple compounds that give the colour may have some medical benefit. However it has been reported by some smokers that they feel the smoke from purple strains is “harsher”. There are of course more and less harsh varieties of Cannabis both purple and green and cannabis food is unlikely to be much impacted by the flavour of the cannabis itself.

Some characteristics for things like Cannabinoid concentration, THC/CBD dominance or minor cannabinoid profile are less easily measured than visual features. It is often implied in the media that Cannabinoid Concentrations are forever increasing and in particular THC is rising exponentially. The obvious truth is that this cannot be the case. The concentration value is a combination of appropriate fertilisers, growing conditions, plant health and the plant’s genetics. There may have been a slight movement in highest potential concentrations of THC in Herbal Cannabis from 23% to maybe 27%, but this is has not affected the majority of consumers, likely less than the “top” 1% of Cannabis reaches these levels. In terms of herbal Cannabis it might be comparable to dairy industry, fewer small independent farms have been replaced by large industrial indoor farming methods. There are also more “premium” products available as the “high-end” of the market and these may become more specialised and “stronger” than their predecessors. But this will not change things for the majority of customers.


Becoming A Cannabis Breeder in Seven Steps is available on Amazon as a 99-cent Kindle download.

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