Yo, what’s good weedheads? It’s ya boy Dan, here to talk to you about something we all love: cannabis genetics. Now, we all know that the history of weed has been shrouded in mystery and misinformation for years, but let’s try to break it down as best we can.
First of all, let’s talk about the basics of marijuana genetics. Like any other living thing on Earth, cannabis has a set of genes that determine its traits and characteristics. These genes are located on chromosomes, and just like humans, plants receive one chromosome from each parent when they reproduce.
Now, there’s a lot of talk in the weed community about “strains” and “cultivars” and all that jazz. But the truth is, most experts believe that all forms of marijuana belong to a single species: Cannabis sativa L. That’s right, all those different strains with crazy names are just variations of the same plant.
Of course, that’s not to say that there aren’t differences between different types of weed. Some plants are shorter and bushier and give you a more mellow high, while others reach for the sky and hit you like a freight train. But these differences are caused by variations in gene expression, not by different species.
So where did all these different variations come from? Well, scientists aren’t exactly sure. It’s believed that the first marijuana plants appeared somewhere in Asia, probably in the Hindu Kush mountains. From there, humans began cultivating the plant for various purposes, including medicinal use.
But trying to trace the lineage of modern-day strains back to a single origin is virtually impossible. We just don’t have enough information to accurately create a “marijuana family tree.” What we do know is that cannabis genetics are incredibly diverse, with potentially hundreds of different genes existing on each chromosome.
Now let’s talk about some of the most common terms you’ll hear when discussing marijuana genetics. A gene is a specific sequence of DNA that codes for a trait in the plant. An allele is a variation of a single gene (remember, plants receive one allele from each parent). Phenotype refers to observable characteristics like plant height and flower shape. Genotype refers to the entire set of genes in a plant.
Landrace strains are those that grow naturally in the wild in a specific area of the world. Heirloom strains were historically cultivated by humans and do not grow in the wild. A crossbreed is the result of breeding two plants with different genetic traits. The F1 generation is the offspring of two plants with different genotypes. Polyhybrids are crossbreeds of two hybrid cannabis plants with distinct genotypes. A backcross is the offspring of a hybrid strain bred with one of its parent plants. Selfing occurs when a female plant pollinates itself under stress.
Finally, let’s talk about the “indica/sativa myth.” For decades, people have believed that there are two distinct species of cannabis: indica and sativa. But most experts now believe that this is complete bullshit. Instead, they suggest that there is only one species (Cannabis sativa L), and that variations in appearance and effects are due to differences in their gene expression.
So there you have it, weedheads, a crash course in cannabis genetics. Now you know the basics of marijuana genetics and should have a better understanding of how all those crazy strains out there came to be. Until next time, stay blazin’!