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Undoubtedly, the practical applications of cannabis breeding are limited only to a select group of growers. The end user, similar to a consumer at a grocery store, may not be particularly concerned with the agricultural practices or distribution channels responsible for bringing the product they buy to market. But cannabis is somewhat unique in this respect, as the plant’s backstory is critical to an educated consumer experience.


The primary reason for this connection is the importance of strong genetics to good cannabis. Cultivars have been produced over time and genetics preserved, shared and sold, for specific reasons. Most often, breeders have selected strains high in particular cannabinoids, notably THC and CBD. They’ve then bred those with varieties that displayed similar, or disparate, traits. The results have contributed, almost exclusively, to the diversity of strains available to contemporary  cannabis consumers and patients.1


There are now thousands of cannabis varieties available on the medical and adult-use markets. Outside of cultivars that have been preserved and passed on, the majority of these strains are the product of selective breeding by cannabis cultivators. These growers, labelled breeders, have spent the last number of decades providing both cannabis markets with the seeds and cuttings needed to flower out the majority of all products now consumed globally. 

Seeds and Clones

To the end user who either wants to know every detail about the cannabis they’re consuming, or is interested in growing the strain, a rudimentary understanding of seeds and clones is important. Breeders typically work to produce two primary products: seeds and cuttings. While clones can be flowered out immediately, seeds have to be germinated before the plant will flower. 

Despite the somewhat unnecessary nuances of breeding from the direct standpoint of consumption, the topic remains important for at least a few reasons. Genetics will forever determine the characteristics and chemical properties of the cannabis plant, and seeds and clones will, at least for the time being, continue to be the only way to grow whole flower cannabis.

  1. “Cannabis breeding basics.” http://www.cannabisbusinesstimes.com/article/cannabis-breeding-basics/

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