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How Does Cannabis Breeding Work? 

How Does Cannabis Breeding Work?

Did you know that there are over 700 cannabis plant strains, and that number’s still growing?

Whether you’re a medical or recreational marijuana consumer, a scarcity of options is never a problem. There’s always a strain that can accommodate your personal taste.

And if the perfect cannabis strain doesn’t exist yet, just wait. Through cannabis breeding, someone will eventually stumble upon the weed strain that hits all the spots. That someone might even be you!

Cannabis breeders are developing various strains with unique traits. How do they do it?

Keep reading to learn more about marijuana breeding.

Cannabis Breeding 101

There are 2 things to know about growing cannabis and developing new strains. The first is that the marijuana plant is dioecious, meaning that a single plant has either male or female flowers, but not both. The second is that cannabis is wind-pollinated; the atmosphere around the plants takes care of the pollination.

Knowing these 2 facts makes it easy to understand how to crossbreed cannabis strains. The female plants produce the buds while the male plants supply the pollen. All you need for breeding is an enclosed environment, which can be as simple as an enclosure with plastic sheeting on the sides.

After selecting 2 parent strains, you put them in a breeding chamber and allow the plants to grow vegetatively. A single male can pollinate up to 20 females, and it’s ideal to have only one male for genetic stability. As the female plants grow and flower, they’ll produce seeds with the genetics of their parents.

Selecting the Right Phenotype

The seeds that you collect will have the genetic traits of their parents, but that doesn’t mean that they all have the desired attributes. Similar to how siblings are different from each other, each seed can only express a specific phenotype.

The breeder selects the phenotype they think is best, like how some parents have a favorite among their children. The “chosen one” will then go through several cycles of crossbreeding and trait selection. Breeders will discard any undesirable phenotypes to narrow down the best version of the strain.

Strengthening the Phenotype

Cannabis breeders go beyond phenotype selection to produce high-quality strains. Once done with fine-tuning the strain, the next step is backcrossing it. Backcrossing or backward-breeding is a procedure with the goal of strengthening genetics.

For example, let’s say you’ve developed a marijuana strain with high CBD content. CBD (cannabidiol) is an active ingredient in cannabis with high medicinal value, as seen in products. Naturally, you’d want a plant with the highest CBD yield possible.

Backcrossing the strain having the best CBD yield with itself or its parents can produce an offspring with even better CBD yield. In essence, you’re “inbreeding” the strain. The purpose is to make the genes that carry the desired traits stand out more in subsequent generations.

The Best Cannabis Strains Are Out There

We can thank cannabis breeding for Purple Punch, Babba Kush, G13, and all the other quality products we know and love. And if you haven’t found the “one” yet, rest assured that breeders are working hard to develop new strains every day. Someday, you’ll find the one, and it’ll be a match made in heaven.

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