Cannabis Seeds: What You Need to Know to Grow
The cannabis plant is one of the more fortunate wonders of nature because it can be genetically diversified to survive. This means that it can develop inimitable traits as a result of evolving in various areas of the world.
It has many practical applications used today as they were hundreds of years ago such as making paper and rope. Additionally, there’s overwhelming clinical evidence showing cannabis has many medical benefits that help people cope with certain medical conditions.
To be an informed consumer, being knowledgeable about the different types of plants is a great place to start. For example, there has been an ongoing debate about the efficacy of indicas, sativas, and hybrids.
The effects of cannabis are greatly determined by the cannabinoid receptors in a person’s body and the cannabinoid profile of a specific plant. Cannabis is commonly categorized in the following classifications:
Indica is used to produce a plant that’s denser and has heavier buds during the flowering stage. Strains of this type are thought to give users a physical high more than a mental one.
Sativa has buds that aren’t as dense and give users more of a cerebral buzz.
Hybrid strains are a blend of indica and sativa. The high sensation is believed to be a balanced combination that affects the mind and the body.
- Hemp is also a member of the cannabis family. The difference is that hemp only contains a small amount of THC, the compound responsible for the plant’s altering effects. Most notably, hemp produces CBD (cannabidiol) which is used by millions who want the beneficial effects of the chemical without the high.
Cannabis plants can be either male or female. Each individual component of the plant serves a unique purpose.
To make the distinction between male and female plants, the grower will have to wait until the plant is approximately six weeks old.
Taller than females, male cannabis plants will produce sacs of pollen that initially resemble small orbs, but they soon grow into bigger clusters of oval-shaped sacs.
Regular Cannabis Seeds & Their Benefits
Regular cannabis is the result of a male cannabis plant fertilizing a female cannabis plant. The seeds produced have a 50% chance of being male or female. To determine the sex, the seeds will have to be germinated a month and a half until their gender becomes apparent.
In short, if the cannabis plant produces pistils, it’s female. If you notice pollen sacs, it’s male.
Many growers and breeders prefer sensimilla buds over buds that are loaded with seeds. The term “sensimilla” refers to female cannabis plants that have no seeds because they haven’t been fertilized. As a result, the plant’s energy is used to bloom flowers instead of manufacturing seeds. New buds are created from the flowers and as a result, the plant develops a higher concentration of THC and other compounds.
The cannabis plants that produce both pollen sacs and flowers will not generate as much THC, so cultivators often separate the males from the females before the latter is pollinated or they simply grow crops that are entirely female.
Female cannabis plants can continuously produce seeds on their own, primarily with the assistance of males. So, if you want to reduce the number of seeds in your crop, don’t allow the male plants to pollinate the females.
If your objective is to start cultivating feminized seeds, it’s imperative that the male plants are segregated from the females. Failing to do so will disrupt the potency of the female cannabis plant.
As you cultivate the seeds, their height, color, and leaf length may vary as will the degree of the “high” the plant will produce.
Regular seeds are ideal for any grower who prefers a more natural approach to cultivating their cannabis. Experienced breeders often use regular seeds so they can glean the most genetically superior plants and create exceptional hybrids.
Another benefit of regular seeds is that they are more cost-effective (depending on your goals) then feminized or auto-flower seeds.
Contingent on your personal needs, regular cannabis seeds may not be the best investment for you. Fortunately, there are other options.
Feminized Cannabis Seeds
Succinctly, feminized cannabis seeds are derived from two female plants.
Modern technological innovations have allowed growers to acquire more familiarity with the procreation process. The production of feminized seeds is the result of putting the plant under stress.
Growers and cultivators expose the female plants to colloidal silver. This stress causes the plant to increase the production of pollen. The pollen that results fertilizes the female plants that produce the feminized seeds.
When cannabis cultivation first emerged, the only way to grow marijuana was with regular cannabis seeds as nature intended. However, most growers want to harvest the plants so they can sell or smoke the buds. To that end, their primary interest is in the female plants.
Because the demand for female plants is greater than that for the males, feminized seeds were created.
As the process became more perfected, the demand for feminized seeds grew. It hit its peak around 1999. The market has become so profitable, many seed banks don’t sell regular cannabis seeds at all.
Growing with feminized seeds ensures your crop will only be female, which makes the process that much easier. There is no need to grow plants for weeks just to determine which are male and which are female.
Because the commercial demand for feminized seeds is so high, many forget that regular seeds are imperative for the creation and maintenance of a varied cannabis gene pool. Breeders, home growers, and seed banks must realize the importance of offering regular seeds to ensure the scales don’t become tipped dangerously in one direction strongly favoring one sex over the other.
For those who want to harvest their crop more quickly or need to operate with discretion, there is another option.
Auto-Flowering Cannabis Plants
Auto-flowering cannabis seeds are derived from both male and female cannabis plants, but at least one of those plants must have genes that are predisposed to auto-flowering.
Strains of auto-flowering cannabis instinctively evolve from a vegetative growth stage to the flowering stage as they age. This particular strain of cannabis is the result of combining a typical strain of the plant with cannabis ruderalis, a variety of cannabis originating from Russia and Central and Eastern Europe.
Naturally having lower levels of THC, cannabis ruderalis originated in northern parts of the planet that had shorter summers. Therefore, sunlight wasn’t as available annually as it was in other parts of the world.
Its adaptation is flowers that blossom based on the plant’s age instead of a specific time of the year. This is a stark contrast when compared to other forms of cannabis that all depend on varying hours of light for them to flower.
This adaptation is what inspired cultivators to develop a hybrid that has the same cannabinoid levels of indicas and sativas, but also can flower as they age.
As with any personal or professional endeavor, there are advantages and disadvantages to strains of auto-flowering cannabis.
One of the advantages is that auto-flowering strains provide a competitive advantage for growers who want to benefit from a fruitful yield sooner rather than later. Maturing from seed to harvest in as little as eight weeks, this strain grows much faster than sativa or indica
Faster flowering times and harvests would be an asset to people who need to go to market quickly or need to be more covert with their cultivation.
Additionally, auto-flowering cannabis plants are smaller and more compact than other strains due to their genetic background stemming from cannabis ruderalis. Characteristics of this nature could benefit those who don’t have much space for an elaborate home grow.
By their very nature, sativa plants are tall with long slender leaves and able to grow to massive bushes if the outdoor conditions are favorable.
Indicas are smaller in stature with wider leaves. Cannabis ruderalis are even smaller, but they are durable and can adapt to many environmental conditions.
Among the benefits of auto-flowering cannabis, there are a few drawbacks.
If a company or individual grower has a vast space for cultivation, it may be better to opt for another strain that will not only be larger in size, but will produce the corresponding yields as well.
Though cultivators can employ strategies that will maximize the yield of their crop, the fact is that auto-flowering strains are smaller genetically and can’t reach the level of yields produced by larger strains of sativa.
Also, depending on the grower’s mission, the lower THC content of auto-flowering cannabis may not be desirable.
Other Considerations for Breeders and Home Growers
Currently, there are several breeds of cannabis strains. The selection of products available at seed banks can be overwhelming due to the variety. This is especially true if you are new to the industry and are on your maiden voyage toward becoming a home grower.
Confusing mounts as you consider the various names of strains and the numerous breeders. There are regular, feminized, and auto flower seeds. Some are indica. Others will be sativa. Some plants will flourish indoors while others will only reach their maximum potential outdoors.
There are other considerations as well such as the varied flavors, plant size, yield, flowering time, and potency.
With so many components to the equation, how can someone make the decision that’s right for them?
The first step toward making the best choice is understanding what constitutes a great cannabis seed:
- Do your research and gauge the popularity of the seeds you would like to grow. If no one is selling them or growing them, there must not be a demand. Alternatively, a strain could not be very popular because no one knows about it. You many consider experiencing it for yourself to see if a grow is worth pursuing.
- The seeds should have an abundant yield. You will want to research seeds that produce the highest yielding plants. When it’s time to harvest, you will want to benefit as much as possible from your hard work.
- Finally, you will also want to cultivate cannabis that has the potency that you want. Every individual is different, so make sure you are aware of his tolerance.
Regardless of the types of seeds you decide to cultivate, most likely your objective is to grow strains you’ll be able to smoke or sell. Even those with extensive experience as growers have periodic questions.
For any inquiries you may have, contact us if you run into issues with your home grow, equipment or any other concern you may have.