Ever wonder why there are a lot of marijuana strains nowadays? If you happen to visit an online marijuana seed bank or shop, or the top 5 seed banks in your area, you will definitely see a lot of varieties of marijuana. You will know what were their original strains or what were combined or backcrossed to get the final strains by checking their historical lineage. This is made possible by plant breeding if you breed two different strains will often produce a new strain or hybrid.
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Why Breed Cannabis
Breeding is done mainly to enhance specific traits of marijuana or any plant that you wanted to strengthen their genes and have a better genetic composition. Marijuana breeding improves characteristics such as aromas, potency and tastes and even the number of yields.
An important thing to take note before breeding starts are knowing the detailed history of the seeds that are being bred, in this, you can calculate or expect what kind of new strain will be the outcome.
The new strain has to meet certain expectations since they are expected to be enhanced. A new strain is vigor or healthy if it grows bigger and can produce high yields. Newer strain can adapt in any kind of weather condition and the seed is hard enough in order to survive harsh environmental conditions. Their ability to withstand and resist pests, some strains are bred specifically to fight pests.
New strains should also be highly productive to meet the increasing demand for marijuana. Another important reason to breed marijuana is potency. Whether if they wanted lower or higher THC or CBD, it is important to know that seeds banks can do that now depending on the purpose and use.
Cannabis Breeding Process
Let us have a glimpse of marijuana breeding is done. Genetic selection is the most important step in the breeding processes. In the marijuana field, genetic selection is based on Mendelian genetics. This is based on the genetic patterns analysis which is expressed in phenotype generation by. generation.
It is very important as well to have controlled pollination. Only the pollen of the parent plants that were selected due to their characteristics passes on the genes to the succeeding generation.
The results may be different if the genetic selection is done on a large or on a small sample. Large sampled will need time, space and resources where big seed banks can address with the use of their state of the art laboratories and breeders working 24 hours to perfect new strains.
Techniques Used in Marijuana Breeding
- Crossing this is also called the hybridization. This is done by mating two different strains that have special characteristics.
- Inbreeding and segregation happen whenever the offspring of the parental plants crossed together. The F1 ( first generation ) and F2 which has desirable traits are combined. It is crossing the best of a filial generation with their siblings, this is done in order to slowly stabilize desirable traits that they wanted to cultivate.
- Backcrossing is crossing of marijuana plants with a sufficiently stable generation to one of the parental plants so to fix its desirable characteristics.
- While recurrent backcrossing involves repeating the backcrossing technique in order to fix at least one or various desirable traits of the marijuana plant.
- Trait fixing crossing is crossing two highly homozygous marijuana so that they can increase the frequency of a given trait showed in the progeny.
- Another technique is selfing, this is the process where self-pollination happens. This is done in order to reduce genetic diversity and should increase the stability of traits.
Important Factors When Breeding Cannabis
Cannabis seed breeders take important considerations when creating a new strain such as:
- Parent Strain
Choosing the right parent strains takes careful assessment based on the desired effects.
- Desired Effects
Recreational and medical cannabis users have different desired effects. Cannabis seed companies also have different priorities of why they’re breeding new strains.
- Length of Breeding
Time is a crucial factor. There are cannabis seed banks that are seriously creating stable strains, while there is those prioritizing profit so customers may end up having unstable and cannabis seeds with poor germination rate.
Cannabis seed companies take into consideration the demands or want of customers. They study the most in-demand strains to create innovative marijuana varieties suitable for every user’s taste.
- Cannabinoid concentration
Because cannabis is now accepted as an alternative medication, many seed companies check the cannabinoid concentration of new strains, specifically THC and CBD. This factor is crucial for medical cannabis users needing a specific and targeted amount of cannabis dose. In fact, Dr. Sanjay Gupta is an active cannabis supporter who likes to show how CBD can be used as a legitimate medication for all.
Fundamentals of Marijuana Breeding
Marijuana plants can only be male or female. Most marijuana consumers are mainly focused on the female plants this is because only the female marijuana plants can produce the sticky buds that we can use. The male marijuana plants are mostly used in the breeding process. They need to pollinate the female marijuana plants which produce the buds.
Most of the time in breeding marijuana the traits of the female plant dominates in the seeds more than the traits of the male plant. So growers select the male plants that most complement the traits of the female plant they wanted to enhance.
Marijuana breeding has proven to be essential in different applications. But most of the time breeding is done to improve or fix traits and this can be very helpful in the field of medicine. There are also instances that marijuana seed companies breed to create new strains that are appealing to a lot of consumers, most especially the top 5 seed banks today.
Breeding cannabis is a complex process expertly performed by cannabis seed companies. If you’re interested in breeding your own cannabis variety, it’s important to learn the basic cannabis cultivation first. Once you have the experience, you can breed your marijuana strain and possibly introduce them in the market. But always remember that a cannabis breeder should be patient because it takes years to perfect a cannabis strain due to unstable and unexpected factors influencing a cannabis strain.