Most seeds sold commercially are sterile or contain inactive seed. Strictly speaking, a marijuana plant is defined as having no more than three hundred thousand seeds at maturity. All others are considered to be Indica or Sativa plants.
Seeds are only sold for personal souvenirs, preservation and storage. General legal notice: germination is illegal in all countries, so check your own country’s laws regarding seeds, paraphernalia and related products relating to cannabis culture. Also, most suppliers state the plant’s mature size using scientific measurements. In the US, fourteen and a half inch are the legal minimum flower bud size, including container size.
Marijuana plants reproduce very slowly, on average only about two weeks after pollination. The majority of marijuana growers artificially feed their plants with feminized seeds. These “feminized” seeds of the female characteristics (stalk, leaves, flowers) of the cannabis plant but lack the male qualities (seed to harvest). Many people do not realize that seeds planted into the outdoors grow throughout the year and can survive frosts and cold snaps far longer than indoor grown plants. Some gardeners consider them less desirable for indoor growing because they do not withstand heat well and don’t reproduce as quickly.
Many strains of cannabis seeds have been hybrid, which means that they are a mixture of two parent plants. In order to produce a new hybrid, more than one generation of flower bud from a parent plant is necessary. By selecting the best genetics, marijuana breeders can achieve greater yield and produce crops of higher quality than could be accomplished with any traditional breeding technique. Some breeders have even created new hybrid strains by crossbreeding two opposing cannabis breeds-thus creating what is known as “xeno hybrids.”
When crossbreeding different strains, a specific balance is sought between the character of the parental plants. Crossbreeding eliminates this need and allows an abundance of choices in the creation of new strains that are both good and bad. Most feminized seeds are used to produce only female plants. Male plants are often used to produce only male flowers, or vice versa; however, some males will produce pollen with females which are used for crossbreeding, thus creating a hybrid between the two genders.
Two of the most popular hybrid strains in use today are the Black Seeds and White Seeds. These traits are the result of crossbreeding different Black Seeds with White Seeds. While the intent was to produce a better tasting product, these strains have actually created a healthier strain with less susceptible to diseases. This is important because so many strains of cannabis are highly prone to disease. Healthy plants produce healthy buds, which in turn, produce healthy leaves and stems.
Cultivators commonly use two types of seed banks, one is known as ‘traditional’ and the other is more experimental. Traditionally, growers bank marijuana seeds on plots of land that they have worked for years, cultivating them over several years until the plants start to flower. Because they continue to harvest plants at this stage, traditional varieties tend to be very fertile.
Today, researchers are working to create hybrid varieties that are tolerant to THC and CBD. Some varieties are also tolerant of CBG, but many varieties are not. Hybrid varieties have been developed by combining the best characteristics of each of the parent strains to create a new variety that has desirable qualities. However, all hybrid varieties of cannabis are not available, because each strain will naturally produce different results in its growth and yield.
A hybrid cannabis plant is not completely “pure” because it still contains traces of the parents plant. When cannabis is cultivated with different strains, the cannabis plant has to adapt to the different conditions it is placed in. This adaptation can be slow and tedious or it can occur very quickly. Some farmers choose to keep their seeds isolated so they can observe their results more carefully and make adjustments if the harvest turns out to be below target.
Some common traits found in cannabis seeds are the plant’s vulnerability to insects and drought; its resistance to some diseases; and its ability to tolerate different weather conditions. The taproot is the part of the plant that produces the stem in the form of a bean or a bulb, while the rhizome and the bulb are the roots. The taproot is the most vulnerable part of the plant to disease. It is susceptible to fungus, bugs and other pests and can often die from the effects. Many species of weeds, such as dandelions, will destroy the taproot. Some breeds of cannabis plants are also susceptible to cold and wind damage.
Because many of the cannabis plants in existence today are a product of genetic manipulation, it is not unlikely that the strains of cannabis available to consumers are derived from a modified seed. Some users prefer their cannabis buds and leaves to be a little stronger and some like their buds and leaves to be less pungent. The best way to find out about the genetics of a certain variety is to grow it yourself or purchase a reputable cannabis seed dealer to analyze the type of genes used. There are some companies that specialize in offering genetics testing on cannabis seeds. Some even offer a certification for their products if the consumer determines that the cannabis seed is of good quality.