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  • Writer's pictureKyle Holt

Cannabis Domesticated: How New Varieties of Cannabis are Created

Updated: Dec 10, 2019

- A quick guide to understanding the life and style of cannabis breeders.

Have you ever looked at your pet beagle and thought, “your ancestors were once wolves, now you’re just cute, harmless little puppy”?

If you haven’t, that’s okay, it remains true. Through domestication, we’ve turned huge predators into miniature cute things with which we take selfies.

In a similar way, cannabis breeders have been changing the face of cannabis for decades. As a result, an innumerable number of cannabis varieties have been manifested.

Imagine you’re a cannabis enthusiast in 1971 Humboldt County.

While you may have already been sampling some of the world’s finest buds, your tinkering with genetics—along with countless other growers—has greatly increased the strength and potency of cannabis over the years.

Moreover, growing techniques have evolved to allow growers to create the most potent strains possible. If they were to get any more potent, the cannabinoid concentration would lead to an overly gooey, nonviable plant. Cannabis genetics are fickle, however. Take a handful of seeds from one plant and the plants grown from them will show varying phenotypes and genotypes. That’s why some of the most prized cannabis breeds are taken from clones of the original mother plant.

If a grower receives one of these clones but does not want to interbreed it with another male plant, it is possible to stress the plants to a point where they produce a few seeds with only the mother plant’s genetics.

On the other hand, breeders may collect pollen from one variety and apply it to another to create hybrids. Going one step further, there is the ability to use the descendants of hybrids to interbreed again to create poly-hybrids. For example, the popular variety, Jack Herer, is a well-known poly-hybrid whose exact genetics are kept secret. However, many speculate that two of its ancestors include Northern Lights and Haze. By interbreeding cannabis strains, growers have been able to mix-and-match growing capabilities, terpene structures, and cannabinoid potency levels.

Now, the marketplace is loaded with interbred cannabis varieties, and it’s better for it.

Are you planning on breeding your own cannabis? Let us know if you have any more questions in the comment section!

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