A Guide to The Evolution of Cannabis and Its Strain Breeding

January 10, 2024

Cannabis is a plant with a diverse and rich history, which has been both revered for its recreational and medicinal properties and reviled for its controversial status. Now, you can pick any strain that will match your preference and taste, but behind this choice is a world of science. This article will describe the genetic intricacies of cannabis seeds, the stories they encapsulate, and what was their impact on the contemporary cannabis culture.

So, let’s discover together the evolution of cannabis and its strain breeding.

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The history behind cannabis genetics

Before the modern world began to have numerous debates about cannabis legality, ancient civilizations had already been using this plant and cultivating it for many centuries. From the ritualistic use of cannabis in burial ceremonies to the use of hemp for medicine and textiles, cannabis has been an integral part of human history. Every civilization that used cannabis left a mark on its genetics, which led later to the huge variety of the strains we see today. 

The historic traces of cannabis are also found in India, where the plant was referred to as “Bhang” and was celebrated for its spiritual and therapeutic attributes. Also, traces of THC have been found in the Middle East, located in the ancient incense burners, which indicated its role in ceremonial practices. When the trade routes expanded, so did the distribution of cannabis across various continents. This is how the plant has adapted to diverse climates and environments.

The natural evolution alongside the intentional cultivation practices contributed to the various types of seeds we recognize and enjoy today. 

Decoding the cannabis seeds

At the heart of every plant lies a small powerhouse: the seed. This tiny entity has the potential to sprout into a healthy and beautiful plant, which contains both a rich history of its past and the promise for a future. This is how plants have survived for centuries, and this also applies in the case of cannabis. Moreover,  the centuries-old dialogue between cannabis and humans resulted in a vast array of strains, each of them having unique genetic characteristics.

Here are the most common types of cannabis seeds:

  • Regular seeds, which can develop either into male or female plants, are the natural course of cannabis production. 
  • Feminized seeds are bred to eliminate male chromosomes, which ensure resinous and bud-producing female plants. 
  • Autoflowering seeds produce plants based on age and not on light cycles. Many strains can be grown both indoors and outdoors, including the white widows strain. White Widow prefers a milder climate and has a reasonably quick flowering time of 75 days if kept outdoors and 60 indoors. 
  • Photoperiod seeds require a specific light cycle to begin the flowering stage, unlike autoflowering ones. These plants respond to changes in light duration, which is why they need careful management. 

Landraces are nature’s original strains

Before the complex process of contemporary cannabis breeding, nature had already created its own strains, the landrace types. These represent cannabis varieties that have evolved in a natural environment without being touched by modern breeding techniques. Cannabis has grown naturally in plenty of locations worldwide, like Afghanistan’s mountain terrains, Thailand’s lush regions, and South Africa. 

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Landrace strains offer a direct reflection of a region’s soil, climate and local practices. In modern cannabis cultivation, although hybrid strains provide plenty of new experiences, some breeders are still looking for the foundational genetics of the landrace types. These strains allow breeders to either harness ancient traits or transform them into new and innovative ones. 

Modern breeding has pushed genetic boundaries

Today, breeders are not passive recipients of the options they have in nature. Instead, they have become equipped with advanced knowledge and want to create different strains to meet consumers’ new desires and preferences. Now, with crossbreeding, meticulous selections and even genetic modifications, breeders are able to amplify cannabinoid contents, accentuate desired flavors, identify new growth patterns and optimize yields. 

Today, there are plenty of breeders from which people can opt for their favorite strains. For example, Seedsman.com has been in the industry for 21 years, being a leading pioneer in the cannabis industry. Also, numerous strains nowadays stand as a testament to human ingenuity. For instance, “Blue Dream” blends the blueberry sweetness harmoniously with other pine notes, which sets the stage for a balanced invigoration. Similarly, “Girl Scout Cookies” has an earthly and sweet aroma combined with a hint of mint. 

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These strains not only offer unique sensory experiences but also emphasize the progression of cannabis cultivation. So, what was once a wild plant has become a canvas for human creativity, which resulted in various strains, each with its own essence and story. 

Conclusion

Cannabis has evolved hugely in the last few years, and this journey has started with the landrace strains. Historically, cannabis has been consumed for centuries by ancient people for the benefits it brought to human health. Nowadays, people recognize the numerous advantages that cannabis seeds bring. For example, cannabis positively affects blood pressure and lowers it to normal levels. Also, cannabis has the potential to diminish inflammation, combat its adverse effects, and fight addiction.

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Maybe the best advantage of cannabis is that it helps with mental problems, especially when dealing with anxiety and stress. Cannabis could decrease anxiety, being a great ally for people struggling with incessant worries and stress. Additionally, this plant can improve sleep quality and fight insomnia. Insomnia is a common problem nowadays, and people are always searching for new ways to combat this issue. So, if you are struggling for some time now with sleep, it might be a good time to give CBD a try. 

More research is needed to understand all the benefits of cannabis, but so far, the plant has a lot of potential for overall health. 


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