Whether you’re a collector or a grower, it helps to understand the basics of cannabis seeds. So, here’s a brief guide to what you need to know.
Related: The History of Cannabis Cultivation
There are two key parts to cannabis seeds, genetics plus growing style. The genetics indicate what you can expect from a plant once it is grown and the growing style indicates what sort of care a seed is going to need in order to grow successfully.
The basics of cannabis genetics
Cannabis started out as a wild plant. Not only does it still grow wild in many parts of the world but ‘wild’ cannabis strains are now often grown in cultivation as they are known for their hardiness. Wild cannabis strains are divided into three groups.
Traditionally, Cannabis Sativa was known for its high THC content and Cannabis Indica was known for its high CBD content.
Basically, Sativas were known to get you high and Indicas were known to get you stoned. Ruderalis initially was considered as little more than a cannabis curiosity, seeing as it does not typically have much in the way of cannabinoid content; however, it is now highly prized by seedbanks.
The reason for this is that both Sativas and Indicas have growth cycles which are based on the availability of light, whereas Ruderalis has a growth cycle which is based on age. This has opened up new and exciting possibilities for breeders.
Cannabis genetics in practice
Cannabis has now been selectively bred for so long that the number of varieties developed by humans is vastly higher than the number of wild species, which, in the cannabis world, are known as ‘landrace species‘.
This means that the ‘traditional’ rules have now somewhat gone out of the window. There are Sativas with little to no THC and high levels of CBD. There are Indicas packed with THC (although they also tend to have quite a bit of CBD as well) and there are numerous hybrids.
This means that you need to check the name of a strain against its heritage and/or (preferably and) look for specific details of what you can expect from it in terms of behaviour.
Reputable seed banks will generally give you all the information you need about a strain, although you will typically need to click on the specific page for a particular type of seed in order to get it as there is limited space on thumbnails.
Feminised, regular and auto-flowering seeds
If you’ve been shopping around you may have come across three different terms to describe the type of seed you’re looking at. These tend to be either auto-flowering, regular or feminised. You might even find a mix of CBD seeds alongside side these types of seeds.
If a strain name has auto-flowering or auto beside it then it means that the seeds are feminised and that their growth cycle is based on age rather than the availability of light.
If you’re new to the game, auto-flowering seeds might be a good place to start, even if it just for building up your confidence as a collector or grower. They’re also a great alternative to other types of seeds if you’re after fast growers.
Grow time for auto-flowering seeds can vary, some take a couple of weeks whereas other strains can take up to 12 weeks. Although many might say auto-flowering doesn’t yield as good of a result compared to other types of seeds, if you’re unsure where to start, auto-flowering is ideal for those with minimal experience.
If a strain name is given on its own, then the chances are that the seeds are just ‘ordinary’ or ‘regular’ cannabis seeds, which means that they will be a mixture of male and female seeds and it will be up to you to work out which is which and take appropriate action (i.e. get the males away from the females).
Knowing the difference between male and female seeds will help you to determine which ones you need to remove once the cultivation process begins.
If a strain name has ‘feminised’ beside it, then it means that you will only receive female seeds. Feminised seeds tend to be more expensive, but they should all turn into productive females.
Feminised seeds are possibly the most popular type of seed. These independent women are hard workers and produce great results. You’ll find most, if not all seed banks will sell feminised seeds as part of their most popular strains.
As the popularity of CBD continues to grow, so has the demand for suitable CBD seeds. High CBD strains can be found through a range of seed banks which are beginning to offer this type of seed alongside feminised and auto-flowering.
Want to learn more? Here’s what you should know about CBD Seeds.