Different approaches to the production of cannabis seeds: from regular to feminized, passing through the autoflowering and CBDs enriched. Reading recommended to the experienced grower
Male pollen is dispersed in small quantities by wind or insects, by birds. It is almost invisible, but once reached the pistils, it is extremely efficient.
Today breeders take years to study certain males and it is because the only way to be sure that the male chosen to do his job, it is to cross it and check deeply his offspring.
Regular seeds are obtained by combining 2 plants, one female and one male. Males produce abundance of pollen just before the female grows flowers so in a controlled indoor environment, to maximize production, the male is introduced into the flowering room 10 to 14 days later than the female. This is to give the female plants the time needed to develop before being pollinated. Once the females are fertilized – if they are of the indica type – they cease to grow and all the energy goes to seed production. This way of crossing and developing a strain is identical to how Cannabis behaves naturally. Regular seed will be male in 50% of cases and female in the other 50%
This method is the basis of the evolution of agriculture over the years, it was described by Gregor Mendel in 1866. All of our vegetables, fruits and cereals derive from the work of many farmers who have selected the best varieties with variations in flavors, sizes and shapes over the course of hundreds of years.
Even cannabis seeds until 2005 were produced exclusively with this method and seed producers had to have both the female plant and the male plant. For example, White Widow is a cross between a Brazilian sativa and an indica coming from India.
The key is crossing plants from different strains to achieve the outbreeding enhancement and then purify the strain inbreeding i.e. crossing the offspring with themselves till achieving a pure line. Within a pure line the offspring have the exactly same traits as the parents.
In order to obtain seeds suitable for temperate climates, a female indica is crosses with a sativa male in order to import the sativa characteristics into the indica.
You can read Mendel’s theory or Arjan Roskam explains in this video with 10 words how to purify a variety: if you work on a restricted field - i.e. plants are pollinated only by the plants in your field and not by strangers - collect the seeds from the largest plants, store them in a jar and use them for next crop ... in a few years all the plants will be equal to the larger plants
Only since 2000 it has been discovered that it is possible to induce cannabis to change sex by spraying certain chemicals on the flowering female to induce her to produce male flowers.
Since the female plant (chromosome XX) produces male inflorescence (also with chromosome XX and not XY as an authentic male). With this method of pollination all seed progeny have female XX chromosomes and are just 100% female seeds.
We can then reproduce a female plant through seed and not only by cloning. The benefits to the grower are unquestionable
- you do not lose time by growing male plants that – within 2 months – you have to eliminate
- you do not have to control the plantation and eradicate the males
- no risk of losing half of the crop: a fertilized plant produces – by weight – 50% seeds and 50% flowers.
On the contrary the benefits for the outdoor farmer who has space and produces for self consumption are relative.
We also see potential disadvantages. Seeds are likely to become hermaphrodites, and in practice, unlike what the theory says, they can show both sexes in a single plant, with all the problems that arise from having a hermaphrodite and getting flowers full of seeds
A definitely safer way to eliminate any possibility of genetic weakness and the possibility of hermaphroditism to pollinate a female other than that used to produce male flowers. So if you have selected 5 of the best female clones of a regular strain and want to get a female seed from these, you should choose a plant A as a female mother and sprinkle chemicals on plants B, C, D, E to get male pollen and pollen fertilize plant A. The amount of pollen is usually very small for this we talk about 4 plants to produce pollen and 1 single to fertilize
Over the last 20 years, demand for feminized seeds has exceeded that of regulars seeds and breeders continue to create new strains through crosses and they produce regular seeds then they use a selected female to produce feminized seed.
Feminized seed can never be considered an organic seed and its main application is to duplicate the plant – cloning seeds instead of cloning by making cuttings – and not for developing new varieties.
Unlike sativa and indica plants, autoflowering plants can not be kept in a steady growth phase.
To produce autoflowering seeds, we use classic genetic techniques: the problem is that you need both the 2 parents with the autoflowering trait so that all children are autoflowering. You need luck, a lot of space to try many crosses. 15 years after the Low ryder there are hundreds and hundreds of new autoflowering varieties, with better yields and flavours than the original Low ryder.
Autoflowering seeds are only recommended to grow cannabis where the indica varieties can not reach full maturation or to get a small crop in a hurry.
To produce feminized seeds, chemicals are used to induce plants to produce pollen, then you collect pollen, you plant the same seeds again and pollinate females with the pollen we have harvested.
Rich CBD seeds
CBD Crew was the first company to produce CBD rich seeds, they used a purely scientific approach. Along with their reference lab they tried many autochthonous and hybrid strains, they did over 400 tests to establish the true content of the various cannabinoids. Once they found plants with lots of CBD, they continued the selection process to create pure lines.