What are Cannabis Seeds?
Cannabis is a dioecious plant which means that the male and female reproductive organs are found in separate individuals. The most sought-after bud produced by cannabis is referred to as “sinsemilla”. This seedless flower is the result of growing female cannabis plants in an area without males. Thus creating a high potency bud…
In order to reproduce, the flower on the female plant needs to be pollinated by a male plant. However, environmental stress can cause a plant to produce both male and female flowers. Resulting in self-pollination as well as all the surrounding females. These cannabis plants are known as “hermaphrodites”.
Once the seeds are mature, the female cannabis plant will begin to die and drop seeds. These seeds will either be left and they will germinate and grow the following spring, or they get harvested for things like hemp seed oil and food products.
Feminised seeds are created by causing a hermaphrodite condition in the female cannabis plant. To get yourself a hermi female, you can try one of the following methods:
- Spraying the plant with a solution of colloidal silver.
- By spraying the plant with gibberellic acid (very uncommon).
- Through a method is known as Rodelization.
Feminised seeds will produce plants that are almost identical to the self-pollinated female parent. This is because only one set of genes exists and so no males will be produced. This method is often called “cloning by seed”. Producers, however, don’t tend to go through the lengthy (and costly) process to obtain a stable mother plant for seeds.
When your growing cannabis plant begins to receive 12 hours (or less) of light a day, it will start to flower. Sativa and Indica plants will flower based on the photoperiod and regardless of age or height. However, Cannabis ruderalis will begin flowering once the plant reaches a certain age and does not depend on a change of light. This low-THC species has opened up new doors for cannabis breeders. By crossing the ruderalis plant with more potent varieties we get auto-flowering strains.
These strains produce Sativa, Indica or hybrid cannabis that will start producing bud as soon as they reach maturity. These auto-flowering strains are especially sought after in northern climates where summers are short and cold. You can start growing an auto-flowering strain in early spring so that flowering will take advantage of the longest days of summer. Unlike mother plants used for cloning, auto-flowering strains cannot be kept in a constant vegetative state.
Cannabis Seeds Vs Cannabis Clones
A clone is a simple cutting taken from a plant and then placed into a growth medium to promote root growth. Once the cutting has rooted, it can be grown into a mature plant that will be genetically identical to the plant it was cut from.
On the other hand, seeds carry the genetic make-up of both its parent plants. These traits can be expressed in a variety of ways. Some plants characteristics will come from the mother and some from the father, others can show traits from both. To create identical cannabis plants from seeds is a very lengthy and difficult process. Generally, breeders will plant many seeds and choose the plants with the best traits. They can then simply take a clone from that individual plant to start a grow.
Buying Cannabis Seeds
When it comes to buying cannabis seeds, things are different all over the world. In the U.K. there is a loophole in the law that allows you to purchase seeds as a “novelty” item. Here in SA, seeds remain illegal although we have local online distributors that you can purchase from. When you order seeds online, always be sure to use reputable sources. Medical Cannabis Seedbank being one of those more trustworthy seedbanks.
Whether you order from an international seedbank or a local distributor, be sure to choose strains that are well known and are suited for the environment you are growing in.
High-Quality Cannabis Seeds
There are loads of different factors in determining high-quality cannabis seeds. First off, they must be allowed to fully mature before harvesting. Next, they must be properly stored in order to avoid mold or other pathogens that can harm them.
Store your seeds in a dark, cool area and use within a year, unless you freeze them for future use.
The most important factor to determine quality is seed genetics. In order to grow good cannabis, you need to have good genetics. Some breeders will just cross a nice female with a random male and sell the seeds. Other breeders take their time and will cross and backcross plants in order to stabilize the desired traits while also creating different phenotypes.
The top breeders in the cannabis industry have been working for years to create “inbred lines”, these will produce plants with hardly any difference in characteristics. These represent only a small portion of the cannabis seed market as they are generally used by breeders and not producers.
In the bush, female cannabis plants drop their seeds as they die in the winter. When the warmer and wetter weather in spring comes, the seeds begin to sprout and become new plants. Traditional outdoor methods simply involved broadcasting seeds by hand into grow fields.
Today, there are many different methods used by growers to germinate seeds. The easiest way is to simply place a seed in a potting soil mix and cover with a little bit of soil. Keep the soil moist and fairly warm until the seed has sprouted. Other techniques involve lightly scuffing the seed coat to ensure the seed is able to crack open. The most common method for germination is to pre-soak the seed and place it between two pieces of moist paper towel. After a small root appears then the seed is gently placed into some soil and covered.
CBD or Cannabidiol is one of the cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Lately, a lot of research has come to light about the potential benefits of CBD for treating the symptoms of many ailments and conditions. Over the decades of human selection of THC high cannabis, plants with high CBD have become exceedingly rare.
Cannabis used for hemp production has been selected for other traits (including low THC), this is to comply with the various laws. Because of this, many varieties of hemp plants produce significant amounts of CBD. Because of the recent growth of CBD as medicine, breeders have now been crossing common psychoactive species with hemp species. Some of these hybrids have little or no THC, some are in a 1:1 ratio and some are high THC and high CBD.
Seeds for these high CBD varieties are now available online. You must be aware that any plant grown from seed is not guaranteed to produce high CBD levels. There are breeders now that are working on creating seed strains that have consistent CBD levels. The only way to currently grow cannabis with a certain ratio of THC: CBD is to use proven clones that have been tested and bred.
Take a look at the different options available to you and find what type of seeds will suit you and your growing environment best.
Written by MCSB Team, Sep 2018
~ Medical Cannabis Seed Bank