Breeding Cannabis for Superior Strains

Breeding Cannabis

Embracing the lush, green revolution of the cannabis industry means understanding its roots as much as partaking in its fruits. The journey to superior strains begins with breeding cannabis, an intricate process that selectively crosses different cannabis strains to develop unique plant varieties with desired traits.

Plant breeding is a practice of patience, precision, and a bit of nature’s magic — diving deep into the genetic pool of cannabis to create something fresh and valuable.

But why is this so crucial in cannabis cultivation, and how exactly does it work? Let’s delve into it

Why Is Breeding Cannabis Important?

Breeding, a process that involves the controlled pollination of cannabis plants, plays a significant role in the cultivation landscape. When we breed cannabis plants, we can unlock their full potential in a wide range of ways.

This careful combination of select male and female plants isn’t just about propagation. Rather, it’s about diving into the genetic pool of the plant, selecting traits, and creating superior strains that capture the very essence of what cannabis can offer.

Through breeding, cultivators can develop plants with specific traits such as higher yields, increased resilience, or enhanced cannabinoid content.

From creating strains rich in CBD or other beneficial cannabinoids to ones that can thrive in diverse climates, breeding cannabis helps create strains that align perfectly with individual lifestyles, specific medicinal needs, and even business requirements.

It’s through the process of breeding that cannabis is no longer just a plant — it becomes an agent of wellness, a partner for sustainability, and a symbol of balance and abundance.

What Are the Different Varieties of Cannabis?

As you delve into the art of cannabis breeding, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the different varieties of this wondrous plant.

Cannabis is not a one-size-fits-all; it is a complex plant species that comes in many shapes, sizes, and flavors. There are three primary varieties of cannabis that different strains fall within — sativa, indica, and hybrid strains.


Sativa strains are known for their tall stature, longer flowering times, and narrow leaflets. They thrive in warm climates, and their buds often carry an uplifting, cerebral effect.

Many associate sativas with an energetic, euphoric high, perfect for daytime use, creative endeavors, or social situations.


Indica strains are typically shorter, bushier plants with broad leaflets, boasting faster flowering times. They adapt well to cooler climates and are known for their physically sedating effects.

If you’re looking for a strain to help unwind, relax, or aid sleep, an Indica might be your plant of choice.


A blend of Sativa and Indica genetics, hybrid strains are created by using parent plants of different varieties, combining the desirable traits of their parent plants.

These varieties can take on a vast spectrum of effects, flavors, and growth characteristics based on their lineage.

What Is the Importance of Parent Plants in Breeding?

Parent plants, also known as mother and father plants, are the starting point of any breeding journey.

The traits these plants possess — whether it’s the aroma of the flower, the potency of buds, the robustness of the plant, or the richness of cannabinoids like THC or CBD — are all potentially passed on to their progeny.

Selecting the right parent plants is akin to laying the foundation for a building. The stronger and better suited the foundation, the more remarkable the resulting structure — or, in this case, the cannabis strain.

The parents’ genetics will heavily influence the phenotype of the resulting plants, determining everything from plant size to the cannabinoid and terpene profile. Hence, the selection of parent plants is a pivotal step in the quest for superior cannabis strains.

How To Identify Male vs. Female Cannabis Plants

Cannabis plants are dioecious, meaning each plant is typically either male or female. In the early stages of growth, it’s challenging to distinguish between the two. However, once the plants enter their flowering stage, which generally occurs about six weeks after planting, differences begin to emerge.

Male Cannabis Plants

Male plants develop pollen sacs, small round balls that form in the plant’s nodes (where the leaves and branches connect to the stem). These sacs will eventually open and release pollen. Males are essential for the breeding process, as they provide the pollen necessary for fertilizing the female plants.

Through this pollination, males contribute half of the genetic makeup of the offspring.

Female Cannabis Plants

Female plants develop calyxes (tiny hair-like structures), which form a cone-shaped bract with hair-like stigmas protruding from it. These stigmas are designed to capture pollen from male plants.

The female plant is desired by most growers because it produces buds that are rich in cannabinoids — the chemical compounds, such as THC and CBD, that provide the therapeutic effects of cannabis.

In the world of cannabis cultivation, understanding the difference between male and female plants is key. This distinction is critical not only for breeding but also for maximizing the yield of cannabinoid-rich buds.

If the goal is to produce cannabinoid-rich buds, growers often remove male plants to prevent pollination. Unpollinated female plants, or “sinsemilla,” will produce bigger, more potent, and seedless buds.

But, in a breeding scenario, both male and female plants are necessary. The male plant pollinates the female, leading to the production of seeds that carry the genetic traits from both parents.

How To Choose Parent Plants for Breeding

Understanding the gender roles and traits of cannabis plants opens the door to the next stage of cultivation: selective breeding.

This is the deliberate process by which growers pair male and female plants to produce offspring that carry the desirable traits of their parent plants, paving the way to a new generation of superior strains.

Identify Desired Traits

The first step in selective breeding is recognizing the traits that align with your cultivation goals. These characteristics aren’t limited to the plant’s growth patterns and physical properties but extend to its chemical composition as well.

For instance, if you’re aiming to create a strain that induces relaxation and tranquility, you should consider parent plants that have a high CBD content. Similarly, if your target is to cultivate indoors, selecting plants known for their resilience and compact size would be beneficial.

The traits you may want to consider include plant robustness, growth speed, resistance to diseases, cannabinoid profile, aroma, flavor, and the yield of flowers or buds.

Balance Genetic Diversity

While homing in on specific traits is important, maintaining genetic diversity is equally important in the breeding process.

Inbreeding, or pairing plants with similar traits, can help solidify those traits in the offspring. But, it’s worth noting that extensive inbreeding can lead to reduced plant vigor and increased vulnerability to diseases.

In contrast, crossbreeding, which involves pairing plants with different traits, can introduce hybrid vigor — a phenomenon where the offspring outperform both parents. This strategy can lead to the creation of new cannabis strains that possess the best qualities of their parent plants, plus a little extra.

Through thoughtful breeding practices, cultivators can produce diverse, superior strains that could revolutionize not only your cultivation experience but also contribute significantly to the broader canvas of the cannabis landscape.

What Is the Role of Genotypes and Phenotypes in Cannabis Breeding?

As you navigate through the fascinating world of cannabis breeding, two terms that you’ll encounter often are genotypes and phenotypes.

A genotype refers to the genetic makeup of a cannabis plant, the genetic code that dictates a plant’s potential traits.

Phenotype, on the other hand, refers to the physical and chemical traits that are actually expressed. It’s the phenotype — which encompasses the plant’s height, leaf shape, color, bud formation, aroma, flavor, and cannabinoid and terpene profiles — that truly sets each strain apart.

The same genotype can express different phenotypes based on environmental factors such as light, temperature, and nutrient availability. This ability to express different traits under diverse environmental conditions is known as phenotypic plasticity.

The phenomenon of phenotypic plasticity introduces an additional layer of complexity to cannabis breeding. It provides breeders with the opportunity to tailor environmental conditions to coax the plant into expressing desired traits.

How Are New Strains of Cannabis Created?

Creating a new cannabis strain is a labor of love, a combination of science and serendipity. Breeders start by selecting two parent plants with desirable traits. Once pollinated, the fertilized female plants will grow seeds that carry genetic information from both parents.

These seeds are then grown, and the resulting plants are observed for their traits, including growth patterns, resistance to disease, and cannabinoid content.

The process doesn’t end there, though. Creating a stable strain involves multiple rounds of breeding and selection to consistently reinforce the most ideal characteristics, as the traits of the offspring can vary significantly.

Whether the goal is a strain rich in CBD for holistic health benefits or a THC-heavy strain for a potent psychoactive experience, every new strain is a testament to the limitless possibilities of cannabis.

How To Breed Cannabis for Superior Strains

In the journey towards superior strains, each step in the breeding process plays a significant role. From choosing the parent plants based on an array of desirable traits to the careful cross-pollination, growing, observing, and eventually stabilizing the strain, every stage is crucial.

Here’s a closer look at this transformative journey.

Picking Your Parent Plants

The choice of parent plants is critical in setting the genetic blueprint for the new strain. These are selected based on an array of desirable traits — cannabinoid content, resistance to disease, yield, and unique flavors.

The qualities of the mother and father plants will directly impact the genetic makeup of the offspring, underlining the importance of thoughtful, informed selection.

Preparing Your Grow Space

Setting up an appropriate grow space is essential, as the environment in which your cannabis plants grow can greatly influence their overall health, their expression of traits, and, ultimately, their breeding success.

We can’t overstate the importance of isolating your parent plants for the breeding process. To prevent unwanted pollination from other cannabis strains, your breeding plants must be grown in a controlled, isolated environment.

Accidental cross-pollination could lead to a dilution of the traits you’re striving to cultivate in your new strain, making the process less predictable and potentially reducing the quality of the resulting offspring.


Once your space is prepared, the next step involves the purposeful cross-pollination of the parent plants. Breeders collect pollen from the chosen male plant and meticulously introduce it to the female plant. This interaction results in the female plant generating seeds, each carrying a blend of genetic traits from both parent plants.

Planting and Observing

Upon planting these seeds, the real magic begins. As these seeds grow into plants, breeders monitor and assess each plant’s characteristics. This observation phase is where the dance of genetics comes to light, with each plant uniquely expressing the traits passed down by its parents.

Selection and Stabilization

Breeders then identify the standout plants — those that best express the sought-after characteristics. These specimens are further bred, a process repeated over several generations until the new strain consistently showcases the intended traits.

This stage is the key to stabilizing the strain, ensuring that it reliably expresses its genetic potential.

The Bottom Line

Breeding cannabis is an exciting frontier in the cannabis industry, offering infinite possibilities for creating new strains that meet diverse needs. Here at Blue Forest Farms, we’re at the forefront of this revolution, leveraging the power of genetics to breed exclusive, high-quality, and cannabinoid-rich strains.

Guided by the principle of sustainable living and holistic health, our commitment to genetics underpins our production of high-quality hemp seeds and smokable hemp flowers.

Our exclusive strains, such as Hot Blonde and Queen Dream, exemplify our commitment to quality, consistency, and potency. These strains encapsulate distinct flavor profiles and consistently potent cannabinoid content.

Whether you are cultivating your hemp plants using our diverse range of seeds or exploring our organically grown, hemp-derived CBD formulas, our products have been bred and tested for optimal performance.

In this ever-evolving industry, breeding hemp is more than a growing process — it’s a way to cultivate a lifestyle of balance, abundance, and sustainable living. Come grow with us as we harness the power of nature, one superior strain at a time.


Plant Propagation – Cooperative Extension: Garden and Yard | University of Maine

Therapeutic Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids | PMC

Phenotyping and Plant Breeding: Overcoming the Barriers | PMC

Phenotypic Plasticity | ScienceDirect Topics