by Greg Green
At the moment there are approximately 450 seed varieties of Cannabis on the market today. Out of the 450 seed varieties, 200 are worth looking at and out of the 200 varieties about 50 or so are outstanding. Each strain is either a pure species type (taking 2 plants of the same species and crossing them) or a crossbreed of two or more species (taking 2 plants from different species and crossing them).
Out of the 450 seed varieties we said that 200 where good. This leaves 250 left. Those 250 are usually very unstable crossbreed strains. These complete hybrids plants are mixed so much that they can not be classified at either Sativa or Indica. They are classified in a different way that we will explain this in the strain format table below.
Most hybrids do not last long on the market and are primarily found only among breeders who are experimenting with their plant’s genetics. Seed producers tend to only produce the following strain categories. Some Hybrids can be excellent though!
PURE SATIVA (This is a pure species)
SATIVA (This is a mostly Sativa species with some Indica)
PURE INDICA (This is a pure species)
INDICA (This is a mostly Indica species with some Sativa)
INDICA/SATIVA (This is a 50/50 cross between a Sativa and an Indica species)
RUDERALIS (This is a pure species)
And some other Ruderalis mixes. However ruderalis is a problematic plant. It does not produce large quantities of THC, nor does it flower like the other varieties. Ruderalis is considered sub-standard by most growers because it flowers according to age and does not flower according to the photoperiod. We will explain what the photoperiod is in a moment.
Now remember that we said an Indica/Sativa cross would produce two different highs. Well we lied a little. If they are both 50%/50% crosses then the high will be a 50%/50% mix. Indica/Sativa and Sativa/Indica is really the same thing.
Pure Sativa is a total ‘Head High’. Pure Indica is a total ‘Body Stone/couch-lock’. A 50/50 cross will give a 50% ‘Head high’ and a 50% ‘Body Stone’. If an Indica plant is crossed slightly with a Sativa plant it will give a 60% ‘Body Stone’ and a 40%‘Head High’. A Sativa plant that is crossed slightly with an Indica plant will give a 60% ‘Head High’ and a 40% ‘Body Stone’. The 60/40 ratio is most common but some breeders can change that ratio. When choosing a seed, check to see if it is pure or if it has a ratio. Most seed sellers will have this listed along with their seed type. So when we look at some strains that are crossbreeds we must understand which species the plants are leaning towards. Along with the cross you can expect that the plant will look different. Some Sativa plants may be shorter because of the Indica breeding in them and some Indica plants may be taller because of the Sativa breeding in them. This is okay though because later on we will find that as a grower we have control over how a plant will look and grow. As a grower we can influence height and plant features. We can also harvest the plant in such a way that we can produce a different high type. The later you harvest the plant the more you will help induce a couch-lock effect. Harvesting just before peak will induce a cerebral high. If you are working with strains that are for either cerebral or couch-lock highs then you can harvest early or later and help induce some of these ‘high type’ properties.
Hopefully with the knowledge you have been given so far you are equipped to choose a plant that suits your needs in terms of height, potency and high type. There is no point trying to grow an 8-foot Sativa Bush indoors if you do not have the space for it. 2 foot Indica plants outdoors may not survive if other plants compete with it for light. As a rule we can always shorten the plants lengths through pruning, but rarely can we double the plants height if the strain’s genes only allow the strain to grow 2 or 3 feet.