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For some, breeding cannabis is nothing short of an artform. These graduated growers, often coined breeders, have woven the tapestry of contemporary cannabis. These passionate breeders, who operate the world over, are responsible for nearly every cannabis variety currently available to consumers and medical patients.

But how do these strains take shape? The process of breeding cannabis is meticulous and, perhaps for that reason, only practiced by the very top growers. With that said, of course, anyone with male and female plants can breed cannabis. Though results can vary dramatically when professionalism is called into question.

The process of breeding cannabis is intimately tied to the reasons for the practice. Like most crops, strong genetic traits are preferred over weak characteristics. In the context of cannabis, these attributes include growth patterns, hardiness and quality flower development. These are typically considered by breeders to be tantamount to trichome development and overall potency.1

Unfortunately, breeding doesn’t necessarily result in uniformity of characteristics across strains. While consumers can use strain selection as a general tool when looking for consistency, not every strain is genetically identical. Because there are so many breeders with their own genetics, not every Sour Diesel, as one example, is identical to the next variety with the same exact name.2

While cannabis strains are almost always categorized as sativa or indica, hybrids are also often found in this same class. Given that most contemporary cannabis varieties are bred from other strains, the result is classified a hybrid: quite literally the best mix of two of a breeder’s top strains. 

For consumers, the vivacious pace that breeders have been pushing out new varieties has translated to a plethora of product options. As more strains are bred, so too are new chemical make-ups formed, and new ways to treat particular symptoms and conditions born. In large part, consumers and patients have breeders to thank for the diversity of varieties now available to the cannabis industry.

  1. “Cannabis breeding techniques.” https://www.growweedeasy.com/advanced-breeding-techniques/#things-to-breed-for
  2. “Cannabis breeding basics.” http://www.cannabisbusinesstimes.com/article/cannabis-breeding-basics/

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