Marijuana varieties & Cannabis genetics
This report on original marijuana strains gives you precise information about all cannabis strains, including the origin of these strains and their genetics. Additionally some smoke reports including a description of the effects.
Marijuana varieties are either purebred, or hybrid varieties of the genus Cannabis Indica or Cannabis Sativa. The huge selection of marijuana varieties results from the long-term crossing and breeding of various seed banks. Through this process, thousands of different varieties have been brought to market in recent years, but mostly derived from very few original marijuana varieties. The names of the individual varieties are usually selected by their breeders. The individual varieties are then often named after the taste, color, smell or origin of the cannabis strain.
The best known marihuna varieties are
- ��� OG Kush
- ��� Sour Diesel
- ��� Jack Herer
- ��� Purple Kush
- ��� White Widow
- ��� Blue Dream
- ��� Northern lights
- ��� AK 47
Indica marijuana varieties
Cannabis Indica plants have their genetics of the original landrace varieties from India, Afghanistan and Pakistan, where they were used primarily for the production of hashish. Unlike sativa plants, the effect of indica cannabis strains typically results in a heavy “stoned” feel and has a sedative effect. It is therefore often used by users of medical cannabis in pain relief. In cultivation Indica cultivars grow very compact and have dense hard flowers with very broad leaves.
The best-known cannabis indica varieties are
- ��� OG Kush
- ��� Bubba Kush
- ��� Kosher Kush
- ��� Granddaddy Purple
- ��� Ice
- ��� Northern lights
- ��� Purple Kush
- ��� Chronic
- ��� Blueberry
Sativa marijuana varieties
Sativa plants come from warm countries like Thailand, Colombia or Mexico. The cannabis sativa plant is quite different than its indica sister. Both in the way it grows and in its effect. She is known for her uplifting high and her refreshing effect. Ideal for smokers who do not want to lie on the sofa all day. In the medical cannabis faction she is also used for depression and muscle tension. All varieties of cannabis sativa usually grow very large and take longer to flower. For this, the yield is greater in these plants.
The best known cannabis sativa varieties are
- ��� Sour Diesel
- ��� Blue Dream
- ��� Trainwreck
- ��� Cheese # 1
- ��� Green crack
- ��� Purple Haze
- ��� Jack
- ��� Chocolope
Hybrid marijuana varieties
Hybrid varieties are much more common nowadays than pure indica or sativa varieties. Many cannabis breeders cross a variety of marijuana strains in an effort to create ever-better and more robust genetics. The best features of Indica and Sativa are combined to create a hybrid with wonderful balance.
Beginning the breeding journey: A brief history
It’s the axiom of cannabis that humans were meant to be intertwined with such a multidimensional plant. Cannabis has one of the longest recorded histories as far as our interactions with plants go. Dating back to 6,000 B.C., cannabis has been cultivated for many purposes.
Thought to have originated in Asia, cannabis slowly migrated around the world and eventually developed into three sub-species. These sub-species are cannabis sativa, indica and ruderalis. There is some debate that there are actually five sub-species, with cannabis afghanica and hemp being four and five. Either way, these incredible landrace strains were acclimatized through hundreds, if not thousands of generations, as farmers selected the finest seeds to plant from the previous year’s crop. Their selection process was very basic, probably focusing on two major factors. The first being resistance to environmental factors, such as pests and climate. The second being the cannabinoid profile itself.
After so many generations spent in a particular ecosystem, a strain receives the title ecotype, or in our industry, landrace. At this point in history, all the drug-type cannabis around the world is considered to be purebred (a term used to describe a plant, that when bred, only produces offspring with the same genes). Developing purebred strains, especially in today’s legal market, has become the new golden mean within our industry.
The Game Changers
From the end of the 19th Century up until 2012, the breeding of cannabis has taken increasingly exponential jumps as science and technology caught up with our desire to breed increasingly better weed.
Botanists had been conducting plant breeding experiments for hundreds of years. However, it wasn’t until 1856 that Gregor Mendel began his famous pea breeding experiments that gave us the basic rules of inheritance. For more than a decade, Mendel worked with thousands of pea plants in an attempt to figure out how and why specific traits/genes did or did not express through the generations.
It was through Mendel’s observations of how certain traits seemed to come and go through the generations that he concluded some genes must be dominate and others recessive. A tool used to get a visual representation of how Mendelian inheritance works is called a Punnett square. This table is used to show us all the possible phenotypic outcomes from breeding plants.
Knowing the probable dominate and recessive outcomes from crossing strains completely takes a large piece of the guess work out of breeding, and is the very basis on how one goes about the selection process for conducting breeding programs/experiments.
Around the 1960s, with the advancement in worldwide travel, exotic landrace sativas began showing up in the United States. A large majority of these seeds were being grown in southern and central California. Although the climate there is fantastic for growing, a lot of these early sativas still had to be finished in greenhouses.
The maturation times of these long-flowering sativa strains eventually came down when earlier-maturing sativas from Mexico and elsewhere became available. An example of this is the original Haze strain, allegedly developed by the “Haze Brothers” of southern California. These new sativa hybrids were able to finish well within the photo periods that California and the southern border states had to offer.
The start of the ‘70s introduced the little-known indica sub-species that would soon revolutionize the indoor grow scene. These short-stature, early-maturing, resin-coated strains would soon get crossed with the purebred and hybrid sativas, changing cannabis as we had known it to be.
In his book, “Marijuana Botany,” Robert Connell Clarke talks about the outcome of these early crosses. He describes one of these early hybrids as a “huge upright phenotype.” The majority of these crosses had the appearance of indica plants with the size and vigor of sativa plants. These initial sub-species crosses were the original super-hybrids.
Different people who were in central to northern California during the ‘70s affirm what Clarke postulated in his book. I often heard these descriptions: tree-like plants that were so big that they had to be cut down in stages with chainsaws and routinely yielded in the range of 10 to 20 pounds.
DJ Short, possibly the world’s foremost authority on breeding cannabis, says that it was the late ‘70s when widespread sub-species crossing began in earnest. The combination of these early crosses, plus the subsequent introduction of high-wattage grow lights began a new area in cannabis production. These new strains and high-powered lights allowed growers to leave the uncertainty of outdoor growing behind for the more comfortable confines of an environmentally stable grow room.
The 1980s, which were considered by many to be the golden age of breeding, saw the West Coast explode with what are the cornerstones to almost every strain we work with today. The most well-known of these strains include Hash Plant, Northern Lights, Skunk #1, and of course Big Bud.
Big Bud is purportedly to have sold routinely for around $10,000 a clone. This last point should be looked at with serious consideration to production growers, as to the value of breeding a really great strain. Sometime within the next decade, a clone being sold for more than six figures is not outside the realm of possibility.
A greener future
On Aug. 18, 2011, less than three years ago, a company called Medicinal Genomics became the first company to map the cannabis sativa genome. Just this year, the University of Colorado announced the launch of a project called the “Cannabis Genome Research Initiative.”
These projects, and the ones to follow, will eventually be the new standard from which we base our breeding projects. To be clear, we are not talking about genetically modifying our plants (a.k.a. GMO). GMOs are a completely different ballgame. The process for creating GMOs is known as recombinant DNA technology because DNA from different sources are combined, inserted into a molecule, and then transferred into another living organism.
The implications of this are far reaching and the impact on us and the environment is little understood. Besides, after going through all the hard work of receiving your license and setting up your grow, do you really want to hand it over to someone else because their GMO “patented cannabis” pollinated yours, essentially making your new seeds their property?
Having the cannabis genome sequenced in and of itself just becomes a tool for us to get to the end result more quickly. Since the goal with breeding this plant is eventual human consumption, science by itself may have a hard time replacing the discerning palate and keen eyes of a conscience breeder.
Chris Bayley operates a consulting company called Hortistructure, Inc., geared toward licensed producers and processors. He is also the co-owner of an I-502 focused gardening store opening mid-July in Okanogan County.