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While no single cannabis plant can have all of the traits possible, it has not stopped these intrepid growers from trying to get the very best out of the plants they can. The main categories of variability that seed companies chiefly pursue are as follows: Indica/Sativa, THC/CBD, and Auto/Norm. The growers will also select their seed strains based on a number of other less precise variables like color or smell.
The Indica/Sativa split is easy to grasp when you realize that the biggest difference between strains is where and how the high takes effect. Indicas have a sedating body element while sativas have a mental haze associated with them. That is how strains like Sleeping Beauty and Haze got their names. Other differences include some plant characteristics like flavor, duration, side effects and color.
THC is the psychoactive element in cannabis so most growers cultivate plants with high levels of THC production. As cultivation technology has improved, we have seen the THC levels of cannabis rise over the years to a current 30%+/-. Much of this increase comes from use of synthetic nutrients and the application of scientific study on plant growth patterns and general horticultural knowledge.
The internet age has done more for cannabis growing techniques than anyone thought possible. Social networks and video archives provide an ever growing content library for everyone to draw from free of charge. As the cannabis culture has been able to communicate and share data, the cultivation knowledge gained from people like Jack Herer or Jorge Cervantes has influenced a whole generation of cannabis cultivators to up their game.
Cultivators have responded by creating ever more potent varieties of cannabis in ever more exact ways. These high level cultivators compete to see who can push the boundaries of cannabis cultivation the most. High concentrations of THC are a requirement of entry for most competitions but more and more events are expanding their lineup. High Times Cannabis Cups have many categories with High-THC Flower, High-CBD Flower, Indica BHO, Sativa CO2 and THC-Edible being only a few.
There is more than bragging rights tied to winning competitions. The more potent and stable strain is, the more awards a strain will win in events like the Cannabis and Dope Cups. People may not pay attention to a small farm’s Twitter account but millions of people watch coverage of Cannabis and Dope Cups.
Given the popularity of these events, placing well can help catapult a strain from obscurity to celebrity status. Strains like White Widow, Train Wreck and Afgoo are all examples of what winning competitions can do. The popularity of a strain is heavily tied to the number of awards it can acquire so companies are incentivized to create strains with ever higher levels of THC production.
CBDs are the dark side of cannabinoids in that they are NOT psychoactive. The traditional cannabis high is missing but the pain relieving, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties of cannabis are in full effect. CBD does need a small amount of THC (less than 1%) to activate and give the best results. CBD is created when the cannabis plant breaks down CBG. After enough time, CBD will break down further into CBN.
CBD is one of the most talked about chemicals these days as the medicinal effect is much broader than the effects of THC due mainly to the fact that there is no ‘head change’ for even heavy users. No amount of CBD consumption will give the psychoactive and euphoric effects that cannabis is known for. Due to the lack of intoxication, CBD is routinely prescribed to children and animals with severe health problems.
Plants traditionally enter their flower period only after the light cycle drops to a 12-hour photoperiod. Auto-flower plants will change from vegetative growth to flower regardless of photoperiod. This is preferable for large and small scale indoor cultivators that want to harvest as quickly as possible. Because of their shortened life span, auto-flowering plants tend to be smaller than their traditional sisters.
Growers may also select seeds based on many other factors including color. While most people are familiar with purple tinged flowers, producers are creating a whole slew of new strains based on color. Many growers feel that reds, pinks and purples show a stronger, more potent bud. Others feel that any color but green shows that that plant was grown in a cold environment. Cooler temperature is one of many factors in the color of cannabis and while purple flower may be seen as amazingly potent, traditionally colored cannabis can be just as potent. Long time growers attest to the variety of colors attainable in everyday marijuana crops which goes to show the complexity of the chemical processes of cannabis.
The Purple color that is the most common variant to occur in cannabis comes from a buildup of anthocyanins. The chemicals basically dictate the level of purple or even red that a flower can show but do not directly change the THC content so are not a good way to judge potency but a great way to increase market value.
Genetic strains, cloning and seed production are crucial aspects of the cannabis industry. Genetics determine critical aspects of various strains—for medical strains high in CBD’s, or strains bred for high THC—and our seed and clone locator gives you the insider information you need. On Cannafo, you can find local suppliers or check out international flavors. Since it is illegal to ship seeds and clones within the U.S., check your local medical supplier and/or know applicable laws before purchasing seeds/clones outside your area.