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Understanding Cannabis Genetics

Grow Team
Last Updated: 
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Understanding the basics of marijuana is especially important to individuals who opt for a marijuana home garden installation or a weed lover who is just curious.

If you smoke marijuana often, then you can recollect times when one smoke blew you away. The smell, the taste was so out of this world.

You pick up another joint, looking for the experience you had before, and this new joint doesn’t quite cut. And you wonder why?

Well, the answer is in the cannabis genetics of the marijuana and the environment in which the cannabis was grown.

Agriculturalists tell us that the final product of a plant results from the plant’s genetic makeup and the conditions – environment – it is grown.

Different environments will result in different plants in shape, size, and structure even though they have the same genetic structure.

This article will help marijuana growers interested in marker-assisted selection or marker aided selection (MAS) of their weed. In other words, knowing the cannabis genetics you want will help you grow a consistent crop with the consistent results you wish – whether in terms of quality of the flowers or speed of growth.

By knowing your desired marijuana genotype, you can buy the right prop207 marijuana seeds or get the right outdoor grow house kit.


What are cannabis genetics?

What are cannabis genetics?

Cannabis genetics refers to the hereditary traits and characteristics inherent in different varieties or strains of the Cannabis plant.

Like all living organisms, cannabis plants pass genetic information from one generation to the next through reproduction, more like what we call the DNA in humans.

Marijuana genetic traits influence various aspects of the plant, including its physical appearance, growth patterns, cannabinoid content (such as THC and CBD), terpene profiles (aromatic compounds), and overall effects when consumed.

Cannabis Genetics Variations

Genetic variations refer to the naturally occurring differences in DNA sequences among different strains or varieties of the Cannabis plant. These genetic variations are responsible for the diverse range of traits observed in cannabis plants, including differences in morphology, cannabinoid and terpene profiles, flowering times, and resistance to pests and diseases. They include;

  1. Genetic Diversity: Cannabis exhibits significant genetic diversity due to factors such as geographical isolation, selective breeding, and natural mutations. This diversity is evident in the plant’s morphology, chemical composition, and growth characteristics.

  2. Genetic Mutations: Mutations occur spontaneously within cannabis DNA, leading to changes in traits such as leaf shape, flower color, and cannabinoid production. These mutations can be naturally occurring or induced through breeding techniques.

  3. Crossbreeding: Breeders intentionally cross different cannabis varieties to create hybrids with desired traits. This process involves selecting parent plants with complementary characteristics, such as high potency, unique flavors, or specific medicinal properties.

  4. Selective Breeding: Over generations, selective breeding refines desired traits within cannabis strains. Breeders choose plants with the most desirable characteristics for reproduction, gradually enhancing traits like yield, potency, and resistance to pests and diseases.

  5. Genetic Modification: While less common in the cannabis industry compared to other crops, genetic modification techniques can introduce specific traits into cannabis plants. This may involve gene editing to enhance resistance to pests, increase cannabinoid production, or improve environmental adaptability.

Basic Marijuana – Cannabis  Genetics Terminology

When you get into the marijuana world, especially if you adventure to growing your weed in your marijuana home garden installation, then it pays to understand the jargon on marijuana genetics.

Speak with vendors or with peers in the same language.

Here are the basic cannabis genetics terms you need to know.


Marijuana genetics term Explanation
Allele An allele is one of two, or more, forms of a given gene variant.  Marijuana plants have two alleles for each gene.
Backcross A backcross is the offspring of a hybrid strain bred with the original parent plant.
Crossbreed A crossbreed is a marijuana strain that has been bred from a marijuana plant with different genetic makeup.
F1 generation F1 is short for “first generation hybrid.”


An F1 is the offspring of breeding two strains with totally different genotypes.

If this hybrid is then bred with another F1 from the same batch, we get another hybrid – F2.

Repeated, we get F3, F4, etc.

Gene In biology, a gene is a basic heredity unit and a sequence of DNA or RNA nucleotides that encode the synthesis of a gene product, either RNA or protein.


Regarding cannabis, a gene is a specific DNA sequence in a cannabis plant.

Genotype A marijuana genotype is the complete set of genes in a cannabis plant.


A genotype is an organism’s complete set of genetic material. A genotype often refers to a single gene or set of genes, such as the genotype for eye color.


The genes determine the characteristics that are observable in the cannabis plant.

Heirloom Heirloom marijuana strains are those that have existed for generations. They are considered pure genetics because they have never been crossbred with other strains.

These strains developed through natural pollination methods like wind, animals, or humans.

IBL IBL or inbred line cannabis is a strain of marijuana that has been hybridized to the point that the strain is almost different from its original family.
Landrace A landrace is a variety of cannabis that come from regions where cannabis plants have been growing for a very long time in the wild.
Phenotype The genotype of a cannabis plant defines a phenotype. It shows the observable characteristics of a marijuana plant in a restricted environment.
Poly-hybrids Ploy-hybrids are crossbreeds of two different hybrid plants with other genotypes.
Selfing Selfing is when a mother cannabis plant pollinates herself.

Using chemicals, breeders can stress plants to produce male flowers, making the pollen that pollinates the female flowers of the same plant or marijuana clone of the same mother.

Tracing the origins of marijuana strains

Marijuana is believed to have come from the tropics along the equator and the Hindu Kush region of Pakistan (probably where Kush, a popular name for weed, came from).

The natural environment was conducive for Landraces – a marijuana variety that has grown in the wild for a long time, probably for centuries – grows in the wild regions where cannabis plants have been growing for a very long time in the wild.  Adapting to the wild environment, these original species are the purest cannabis genetics.

The known varieties of the Landraces are the Sativa and the Indica cannabis.


Types of Marijuana Genetics of Different Strains

Marijuana or cannabis strains fall into two major categories: 1. Pure cannabis and 2. Hybrids.

The pure cannabis strains are Cannabis Indica, Cannabis Sativa, and Cannabis Ruderalis.

The Hybrid cannabis varieties result from experimenting with three pure varieties to create new varieties with unique genetic traits.


Cannabis Genetics for Sativa

 cannabis genetics for sativa

The Cannabis sativa strain has been cultivated through the ages for recreational use, spiritual connotations, and fiber, medicinal value, and seed oil.

Cannabis Sativa is thought to have come from the warm equatorial tropics of Southeast Asia, Thailand, Colombia, and Mexico.

Cannabis Sativa plants grow into tall plants, reaching heights of 4.5 meters.

Proportionate to their height, they have long branches and internodes with narrow blade-like leaves.

Their vegetative period can last up to six months. Thus, Sativa is known to have a high yield but with a lower THC.

Its long vegetative period makes it less attractive to indoor marijuana growers.

Some other common effects of Sativa include:
Increased focus, enhanced creativity, nausea, appetite, headache and migraine relief, pain relief, fatigue relief, depression relief, and muscle relaxation


Cannabis Genetics for Indica

cannabis genetics for indica

Cannabis Indica is another pure cannabis strain. Its origins can be traced to Morrocco, the Hindu Kush mountains of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Cannabis Indica plants are short, with heights ranging between two to four feet.

Indica plants go from seed to flower in twelve weeks, sometimes less, depending on the genotype and the growing conditions.

Because of its height, cannabis Indica is often the one grown indoors.

Cannabis Indica is known to help with several conditions like anxiety, appetite, muscle spasms, nausea, sleep apnea, chronic pain, insomnia, lupus, and fibromyalgia.

Hybrid Cannabis Genetics and Varieties

As we mentioned earlier, hybrids result from combining any of the three pure cannabis genetic types to achieve a certain effect.

Many types of hybrid varieties are categorized by nature and production method. Let’s discuss them one by one.

IBL – Inbred Line

IBL, or inbred line cannabis, is a strain of marijuana that has been hybridized to the point that the strain is almost different from its original family.

IBLs often share genetic traits without variation in phenotype.

F1 Hybrid

F1 is short for “first generation hybrid.”

An F1 is the offspring of breeding two strains with totally different genotypes. Ideally, an F1 hybrid is a result of crossing separate Inbred Lines.

F2, F3, F4, F4  Hybrids

If we cross-breed an F1 with another F1, we get an F2 hybrid.

The same applies when we cross an F2 with another F2; we get an F3.

The more we crossbreed, the higher the chances that new breeds will not have the same genetic structure as the parent plant.


What affects cannabis genetics?

what affects cannabis genetics?

Marijuana genetics are affected by several factors, both natural and human interference. These include:

  • The weather and environment the cannabis plant is growing in
  • The process of creating cannabis hybrids
  • The type of soil the crop is grown in
  • The distance between the plant and the source of light
  • The number of light marijuana plants receives.
  • The angle at which light hits the cannabis plants
  • The Photoperiod length
  • Harvest times

The dark years before States across the U.S started legalizing marijuana saw a drastic shift in the genetic makeup of marijuana.

Cultivating marijuana indoors forced growers to tinker with the Landrace marijuana varieties to create a crop that grew faster, a crop with a shorter harvest time, or just about any appearance, flavor, or high effect.

For a fact, the ability to play around with the genetics of marijuana plants through tinkering – creating hybrids – meant the possibility of limitless cannabis varieties.


Last remarks on marijuana genetics

If you are going to be growing marijuana, it is imperative to know your marijuana genetics.

It will enable you to achieve consistent results in the right conditions.

Here at The Seed Connect, we have a wide variety of Arizona marijuana seeds in stock.

Whether you want more THC or CBD, our seeds are certified with the best marijuana genetic makeup for the best yields.

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