Breeding vs. Crossing Cannabis Plants

yesMost often grower’s do not breed, they cross plants without stabilizing any particular plant, or developing true breeding strains. Once they find a plant they like, they take clones of it and grow it out under lights. Often this is process is confused with breeding. It is much more difficult to select plants, stabilize them into true breeding plants and produce hybrids. Sometimes, when 10 purchased seeds are planted, the result is 10 plants that all look different.

Favorable characteristics most breeders look for include general vigor, potency, resin content, flower to leaf ratio, large floral clusters, quality of high – long lasting, soaring, sedative – therapeutic effects, taste and aroma, short stature, early maturation, and mold and mite resistance.

Inbreeding establishes a pure breed. A pure breed has consistent chromosomes. That is, the genetic makeup of offspring is relatively uniform. This true or pure breed is necessary so common growth characteristics may be established. If the plants are not a pure breed, it will be impossible to predict the outcome of the hybrid plant. After the 4th to 6th generation of inbreeding, negative characteristics, like low potency, legginess and lack of vigor tend to dominate. Inbreeding is necessary to establish a true breed, but has been shied away from after the strain has been established.

The overall goal is to provide transparency to the cannabis industry. For medicinal purposes, patients should expect consistent medicine, and in the future, plant genotypes can be used to provide the most effective and specific medicine for an individual. For the development of hemp cultivars, strains need to be identified and developed for optimal growth in varying environments, including at different latitudes where timing of flowering is paramount for seed and/or fiber production.

The next decade will be one of monumental change in the cannabis industry, driven by increased reliance and skillful exploitation of research and testing.

Sage Analytics has field potency devices that help growers and cultivators monitor their crops in real-time, thus enabling them to make informed decisions about plant selection and harvest.

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