What are Marijuana Seeds?
Cannabis is a dioecious plant, which means that its female and male reproductive organs are located on separate individuals. Female cannabis plants are grown in a male-free environment to produce what we find in medical and recreational stores: high potency marijuana seeds, traditionally known as “sinsemilla”.
To reproduce, the flower of a female plant must be pollinated by a male plant after which the female flower produces seeds. However, many cannabis strains can produce some male flowers alongside female flowers on the same plant, especially if exposed to environmental stressors or left to flower for a longer than normal period. This is known as the hermaphrodite condition, and sometimes these male flowers produce viable pollen and self-pollinate the surrounding female flowers to create seeds.
What are feminized cannabis seeds?
Feminized cannabis seeds are seeds that are produced by causing the monoecious or hermaphrodite condition in a female cannabis plant. This is accomplished through several methods:
- By spraying the plant with a colloidal silver solution
- Through a method known as Rodelization
- Gibberellic acid spray (much less common)
Feminized seeds produce plants that are almost identical to this self-pollinated (or “self-produced”) parent plant, as there is only one set of genes. This is sometimes referred to as “seed cloning” and will not produce any male plants. However, most feminized seed producers do not go through the lengthy (and expensive) process of identifying a completely stable mother plant for seed production. Many, if not the most feminized seeds end up being hermaphroditic, which can produce flowers with seeds in them and reduced yields. More experienced growers will not use feminized seeds and should never be used for breeding purposes.
What are auto-flowering cannabis seeds?
Most cannabis plants begin their flowering cycle when the photoperiod is reduced to between 12 and 14 hours. The Cannabis ruderalis species, however, will begin to bloom once the plant reaches a certain age and will not depend on a change in the photoperiod .
Some breeders have crossed low THC ruderalis with other more potent varieties to create autoflowering strains. These strains produce indica, sativa or hybrid cannabis flowers, which begin to bloom as soon as they reach maturity. This is especially desirable in Nordic climates where summers are short and cold, and rainy weather comes in early autumn. Autoflowering strains can be started in early spring and will bloom during the longest days of summer to take advantage of the highest quality light available. Unlike clone mothers, autoflowering strains cannot be kept in a vegetative state.
What is the difference between cannabis seeds and cannabis clones?
A clone is a cut taken from a plant and then placed in a sort of substrate to induce the production of roots. Once rooted, it can be transformed into a genetically identical mature plant from the one from which it was cut.
The seeds carry genetic information from two plants which can be expressed in numerous different combinations. Some the mother, some the father and many who have various traits from both. Creating identical cannabis plants using seeds is a very difficult and lengthy process. Generally, cannabis producers will plant many seeds and choose the best plant, then take clones from that individual to grow their cannabis flowers or simply start with a proven clone acquired by another grower as a mother plant.
What do you need to know about high CBD seeds?
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of the chemical components (collectively known as cannabinoids) found in the cannabis plant. Many of the potential benefits of CBD have recently been made to treat the symptoms of many diseases and conditions. Through millennia of human selection for high THC content, cannabis with high CBD levels has become extremely rare, as the genetic pathways through which THC is synthesized from the plant are different from those for CBD production.
The cannabis used for hemp has been selected for other traits, including the very low THC content. As a result, many varieties of hemp plants produce significant amounts of CBD. As interest in CBD as a medicine has grown, many breeders have bred cannabis that has high levels of CBD by crossing drug species with hemp species; some of these hybrids have low or zero THC, some have 1: 1 ratios and still others have high THC content along with significant amounts of CBD (3% or more).
Why are cannabis seeds so expensive?
Cannabis seeds typically sell for around € 7 / € 15 each, far from the € 1 pack of tomato seeds. People are often quite surprised when they discover that a pack of 10 cannabis seeds can cost well over € 100. It is not difficult to identify the reason for this: prohibition.
The general rule is that if you can grow multiple plants at the same time, it is easier to locate and stabilize the desired traits and it is less expensive to produce large quantities of seeds. Add to this new scientific testing methods for the desired traits using tissue culture and laboratory analysis, and you have a big advantage over your average cannabis breeder.
Large-scale cannabis cultivation is also tiny when compared to your average commercial seed production facilities. Cannabis farmers who work in forbidden or strictly regulated legal environments simply are unable to work on this scale and need to take much longer, sometimes up to decades, to produce a line of quality seeds. When you combine this restriction with the threat of potential legal consequences for breeders (many have spent time in prison), it becomes easy to understand why cannabis seeds are so expensive. It should be noted that high cost does not always equate to high quality, as the industry is not regulated.