So how do you know whether to pick a male or a female of each strain that you’re crossing?
Take the strain Super Lemon Haze as an example. It’s a hybrid (or a “cross”) of Super Silver Haze and Lemon Skunk—these are the parent strains. At some point, the breeder decided that they liked some attributes of Super Silver Haze and some of Lemon Skunk and decided to combine the two.
The Basics of Breeding
Lemon Skunk also tends to grow extremely tall and has loose buds, whereas Super Silver Haze grows smaller and has denser buds. Through selecting specific phenotypes, a breeder can pick one that has the attributes they want to keep. In this case, a phenotype that has the structure and bud density of Super Silver Haze and the flavors and aromas of Lemon Skunk.
Cannabis plants can be either male or female. Cannabis consumers are mainly concerned with female plants, because only females produce the sticky buds that we all know and love. But male cannabis plants are important for the breeding process, as they are needed to pollinate the bud-producing females.
“A healthy male can pollinate up to 20 females, and by pollinate, I mean absolutely cover the plant with seeds.”
But in addition to the percentage of THC or CBD, there’s a lot more to the overall effects of cannabis. There are many cannabinoids and terpenoids that we haven’t studied, and these all can change what effects the buds will produce. Some growers are starting to breed for other traits besides color or THC/CBD levels, paying more attention to the nuances of different strains and their effects.
The strain Panama (shown below) is made from three heirloom strains:
Panama ’74, Green Panama & Colombian “Punto Rojo”
When it comes to color, it’s important to understand that the color of buds doesn’t have anything to do with cannabis potency. It’s simply a visible trait, just like how many flowers come in different colors. Purple cannabis buds can be ultra-potent, or they can be “meh.” The effects produced have to do with the breeding/genetics and growing style, not the color.
Sometimes an F1 cross between two unrelated inbred plants can produce undesirable or surprising results, but growers are often rewarded with better vigor and uniformity from F1 crosses.
The first thing you need to know is that all plants (and animals) get two version of each gene, one from each of their parents. The interaction between the two versions of a gene can have a huge effect on your plant.