Yo, what’s good? Dan here and let me tell you, the game has changed. Weed buying ain’t what it used to be. With all the legal reforms happening worldwide, the way we choose our flowers has gone through a major transformation. The hype machine for different strains is constantly churning, making the lifespan of any given strain shorter and shorter. Nowadays, it’s not just about finding a specific strain, but also aligning yourself with particular growers and brands. But how long can a strain stay in the game? What’s its average lifespan?
According to cannabis expert and author Elise McDonough, the Dutch scene got swept off its feet when Reeferman, a Canadian, came in with his Love Potion #1 in 2004. He created strains by traveling the world and finding landrace strains that he could grow out in huge fields and then making selections to breed them together. This allowed him to produce new and fresh flowers compared to what was coming out of the Netherlands at the time.
Nowadays, California is where it’s at. But Californians are getting tired of these Cookie crosses that everyone seems to be growing. Everything is being crossed willy nilly with everything else, leading to a weird muddle of strains that all start to taste the same. As McDonough says, “Everybody’s grown out the same stuff”.
But as a brand person at Binske, McDonough also feels the pressure from retailers who want something fresh and different on their menu all the time. The breeder’s goals differ from those of retailers since breeders spend years stabilizing and maintaining genetics while retailers want new and exciting strains all the time.
It takes generations to achieve clearly defined, consistent, and predictable traits in cannabis just like dogs. McDonough likens cannabis breeding to dog breeding where it took generations of breeding Labradors with poodles to create labradoodles.
However, what we’re seeing now are these hype strains that are a flash in the pan and aren’t stabilized. This is what leads to the lack of staying power of newer cannabis cultivars. But there are many other factors that come into play. For instance, Mike Doten, the chief sales officer at Fig Farms, believes that unique strains walk a popularity parabola that rises and falls in about five years.
Common strains have an even shorter lifespan as their consumer demand drops. But marketing is also a significant factor in a strain’s longevity. By having a proper marketing kit, you extend the life of a strain by making it more popular and desirable among customers.
Luigi Diaz, a comedian who has worked in the cannabis industry for nine years, thinks hype strains have a lifespan of five years. That’s when they become hype, and then everyone grows them to perfection. Then comes the crosses while searching for that new fire.
For Josh Vert, co-founder of Royal Key, finding a cultivar to put on the market often concerns its ability to become a cannabis concentrate. Another component is the way a particular strain grows. Sometimes you don’t find out a lot of details until you’ve grown it out for some time.
The traditional market drives many trends, and this is evident with strains like Zkittlez. It has an outstanding terpene profile and a brand behind it, making it one of the most popular strains out there. But its popularity has also led many other brands to use it in their breeding projects.
Alyssa Roberts, chief of staff with Kayla Extracts, believes that asking about the average strain’s lifespan is complex. The constant quest for new flavors means that cannabis breeders don’t always work on genetic stability. Strain variability and differentiation are all based on the market and what consumers want to see.
In conclusion, the average lifespan of a strain seems to be about five years before it gets hyped up and then fades away due to cross-breeding and a lack of genetic stability. But it’s not just about the lifespan of a particular strain; it’s about aligning yourself with particular growers and brands who can provide you with the latest and most exciting strains on the market. So, keep your eyes peeled for the next hype strain that could change the game once again.