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How To Determine The Best Phenotype Of A Weed Strain

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If you have grown cannabis before you might have observed this confusing trend. You can plant your favorite strain in the first attempt and get all the desired features and effects that you were looking for. You give yourself a tap on the back, well deserved!

You do this again and it becomes a complete disaster in spite of replicating the growing formula. The plants may look and even taste a little bit different from the first batch. Your desired indica traits may be closer to sativa than indica. There is only one explanation to this: different phenotypes.

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The Age of Cannabis Hybridization

Cannabis hybrids have now become a popular thing. When done properly this represents the best of both worlds (sativa and indica) brought together in one strain. This is also an opportunity to harness the best phenotypes and propagate them.

For a long time cannabis growers were mixed up when choosing cannabis seeds to propagate. While indicas are desirable for the short flowering time and resin coated features, sativas offer the best in terms of cerebral buzz which is loved by consumers.

These two varieties of cannabis are on opposing ends of the spectrum when you consider their phenotypic expression. With hybrids it is possible to get a balance between the two, which is why it is easy to find a sativa that exhibits indica-like phenotypes and vice versa.

What Are Cannabis Phenotypes?

Cannabis, as well as other plants, are influenced by two factors: genetics and environmental factors. The genotype mostly refers to the genomic composition of the plant. This hidden genetic make-up gives birth to the external features that we can observe in the plant. It forms the basis for the expression of physical characteristics which make up the phenotype. It is easy to mistake the two but they are different.

The external environment helps to draw out the genotype so that it is expressed in the phenotype. If environmental conditions are not consistent, plants with similar genetic make-up may express their phenotypes differently. These differences will be expressed in terms of color, bud shape and density, aroma, and resin production.

Hence cannabis phenotypes have evolved consistently over the years through natural and man-made efforts.

For some growers, having different phenotypes in their grow is desirable as this will provide a range of desirable features. For others, consistency is key. However, most commercial growers would favor consistency over variety and this is why cloning and phenotyping is important.

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Environmental Factors That Affect Cannabis Phenotypes

Cannabis genotypes produce certain traits based on environmental conditions. For example, purple hues are only expressed when cooler temperatures are present during the flowering phase of growth. Environmental factors will also affect the aroma, resin production, yields, and overall quality of the cannabis. You could have a high yielding variety of cannabis, but with fluctuating environmental conditions the high yield will not be achieved. If you take the same cannabis clone and subject it to two different environmental conditions the resulting plants will have different physical traits aka phenotypes.

RELATED: Do You Know The Difference Between Cannabis Strains, Phenotypes, And Cultivars?

The same applies when you take identical clones and give them to two different cannabis growers, the plant that they come up with will have the same genotype but may express different phenotypes. Even slight differences in growing conditions will affect the plant growth and end result. Factors such as temperature, humidity, and lighting conditions play a role in determining the physical traits of a strain.

Development of Phenotypes in Cannabis Plants

Phenotyping in cannabis starts as early during the formation of the seed. Unfavorable growing conditions will negatively affect the parent plant and may trigger phenotypic development before the seed ripens. Once the seed germinates, environmental conditions will allow for the development of certain traits.

Therefore, the environment helps to foster the traits of your plants at any given time. In most cases the dominant traits from the parent mask the expression of recessive traits in the strain. However, environmental fluctuations may force these recessive traits to be expressed. This is what creates the difference between different cannabis phenotypes.

How to Select a Cannabis Phenotype

When you collect seeds from a reputable cannabis seed bank you are likely to have a collection of different phenotypes of the same strain. You will need to grow a number of seeds and observe their characteristics as they begin to flower. Pick the seeds that display the most desirable traits and discard the rest. The traits here could include the colors, aroma, growth characteristics, yields, cannabinoid content, and resistance to disease. You can use these seeds to propagate your desired phenotype of cannabis.

RELATED: Is All Weed Basically The Same? Here’s What Scientists Recently Found

The process of phenotyping usually takes several years especially when it’s being done on a commercial scale. It entails taking clones of the best seeds and labeling to avoid mixing. These seeds are then propagated to produce offspring with similar traits. This is usually done to facilitate the mass production of cannabis strains with the best characteristics.

The clones are grown to a height of about 6–12” a height which can be cloned. This may take 4-6 weeks. The cannabis  clones need to be cultivated separately during the vegetative phase. After this initial phase the clones will need to be transported to the light cycle where they can begin to flower. You may observe some difference in how the clones behave in this stage. Some might flower sooner than the rest while the bud sizes and yields may also vary. In about 10 weeks the plants should be ready for the harvesting stage.

RELATED: 5 Things To Know About The Endocannabinoid System

At this point you will have observed all the characteristics of the plants and you will be able to select the best clones. Take note of the bud structure, density, appearance, yield, and trichome gland population. Mediocre clones should be done away with. The clones you select will be used for the next generation until the generation with the best phenotypic features is realized. This may take several rounds of cloning and is likely to be a costly affair.

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Cannabis Genotype Vs. Phenotype

The two terms are often used interchangeably but are not one and the same thing. A cannabis genotype refers to the unseen genetic characteristics that are passed on from parent to their offspring. A phenotype on the other hand refers to the physical traits that are passed on from the parents to their offspring. These traits may include the appearance of the flowers in terms of color and bud structure. It also includes the smell, flavor, and effects that are produced by the plant. The genotype influences the expression of some of the phenotypic features; this is where the two intertwine. However, some phenotype features are as a result of environmental influences.

Selecting the Best Cannabis Phenotype

If you are a commercial grower looking to replicate desirable traits your best chance is to find your dream phenotype and take cuttings from it. To do this you will need to know what exactly you are looking for, right?

Here are a few phenotypic characteristics that you should be looking out for.

Aroma

This is one of the important things that you should be on the lookout for. The aroma of cannabis is a result of the terpenes that are present in the strain. However, this will also be influenced by the growing conditions.

Before purchasing a strain of weed most consumers will first sniff into the jar. While some users prefer sweet smelling varieties of cannabis a good number prefer to enjoy the skunkiness of myrcene in the strain. This is simply a matter of preference that should be a concern to the grower.

When selecting a phenotype, carefully consider the unique aroma that you desire to propagate knowing full well that this also represents the terpene profile.

Taste

This is another important aspect of a cannabis phenotype. Regardless of how the weed is going to be consumed, how it tastes will always draw or repel consumers. The taste helps to bring out all the qualities of the strain. Diversity is important as well and you can settle for phenotypes that have an eclectic mix of flavors.

Effects

Cannabis strains can be classified as either indica or sativa and this represents the effects that they are associated with. That said, even plants of the same strain may produce different effects based on the phenotype. So apart from selecting your preferred cultivar it is also important to consider the unique cannabinoid profile and biochemical composition that is responsible for the effects that are produced by a strain of marijuana.

Ultimately, the effects of cannabis will vary based on one’s biological make up and how often they have used cannabis. However, the phenotype is always a good starting point. The aroma and taste of cannabis will also play a role on how one perceives the effects caused by a strain.

While some phenotypes will give you a strong head buzz and propel you to outer space, others will simply mellow you and force you to defer to the couch for the better part of the day (body stone). Consumers will choose strains based on what effects they are pursuing. Therefore, every grower needs to have this at the back of their minds when selecting phenotypes.

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Bud Size

The organoleptic qualities of a phenotype are bound to draw your attention from the get go. However, bud size comes in handy when you are considering how to optimize space for your cannabis canopy whether it is an indoor or outdoor grow. This will be largely determined by the size of the buds.

Generally, indica strains will form large and dense nugs while sativas will be less chunky in comparison. However, this will also vary based on the plant phenotype.

If your growing space is large you will be able to pick any phenotype that you want. On the other hand, if you are limited in terms of space you are better off going for phenotypes with smaller bud sizes.  This is especially the case in indoor vertical grows.

Expected Yield

What is the expected yield of the cannabis phenotype that you select? This is a question that should always be at the back of your mind when pheno hunting. Most commercial growers will prefer going for high yielding strains that will return a handsome profit. However, you should be able to consider all other qualities such as cannabinoid profile and know which one to prioritize over the other.

How Long Does It Take To Mature

This refers to the length of the flowering period. It determines how many growing seasons you can fit into a calendar year and consequently affects your total annual yield.

Commercial growers usually favor phenotypes that flower in a short span for obvious reasons. Indicas generally flower quite fast, within 8- 10 weeks. This increases profitability. It is an effective way to get the most out of a limited grow space.

Below we have tackled some of the commonly asked questions on cannabis phenotypes. You should be able to answer some from the information provided above.

What Is a Phenotype?

This refers to the inherent traits of strains that are passed on from the parents- both male and female. When a female and male are crossed the offspring that is produced will inherit phenotypes from both the parents. When speaking of cannabis, these traits include the hues, aroma, flavor, cannabinoid content, and growth characteristics among others. Yield is also included here and is a big consideration for commercial cannabis growers. The process of looking for the best traits in a cannabis strain is commonly referred to as pheno hunting.

Do Feminized Seeds Have Phenotypes?

This is a tricky one, but yes, cannabis feminized seeds have different phenotypes. Most breeders will work through thousands of cannabis seeds to select the best phenotypes to feminize. These seeds will have desirable traits for propagation.

Is Every Seed a Different Cannabis Phenotype?

Not this is not entirely true. A reputable cannabis seed bank  spends a lot of time developing and stabilizing their seeds to make them as consistent as possible. This means that the seeds should be able to give rise to plants with very similar expressed characteristics.

This article originally appeared on MyCannabis.com and has been reposted with permission.



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Cannabis

Men Or Women? Who Benefits More From Using Weed Before Sex?

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A new study adds more evidence of marijuana’s positive impact on sex. Results show that cannabis increases the odds of orgasms and makes people more likely to experience pleasure. Most importantly, the study claims that the plant could be impactful for women, helping treat sexual dysfunctions and reducing the orgasm inequality gap.

The study, published in the Journal of Cannabis Research and conducted by researchers from East Carolina University, focused on survey responses from 811 adults between the ages of 18 and 85. The majority of them identified as female and all had previous experience with cannabis.

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“The purpose of this study was to examine the perceived influence of cannabis on sexual functioning and satisfaction,” researchers wrote.

Responses show that most participants, regardless of age and gender, reported experiencing more pleasure and satisfaction when having sex after consuming cannabis.

RELATED: Why Cannabis Users Have Better Orgasms & Overall Sexual Function, According To Study

A closer look at the results show that 70% of respondents said that using cannabis before sex made them more likely to experience an orgasm while also increasing their desire. 62% said the drug increased pleasure while masturbating.

One of the strengths of the study is the fact that it used subjects of various backgrounds. For example, researchers made sure that their subjects were involved in multiple work industries, had varying cannabis preferences, ages and sexual orientations (almost 25% of the participants were identified as LGBTQIA+). After accounting for factors that could have altered their results, they concluded that the sex life of both men and women benefitted from the addition of marijuana.

“This study updates the current literature on cannabis and sexuality and provides implications for improving sexual quality,” researchers wrote. “Medical implications of this study include the possible use of cannabis for treating sexual dysfunctions, especially within women.”

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RELATED: How Cannabis Can Improve Your Sex Life

In the case of women, the study suggested marijuana could help them treat various medical dysfunctions while helping close the orgasm inequality gap, a phenomenon that refers to the disparity between heterosexual men and women when it comes to orgasms.

“Women may be more likely to orgasm when using cannabis before sexual encounters, which could contribute to equity in the amount of sexual pleasure and satisfaction experienced by both women and men. Sex therapists could incorporate use of cannabis in states where it is currently legal,” argued the researchers.



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More Weed, More Problems? – Cannabis | Weed | Marijuana

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More weed, more problems? As in, if you smoke all day, everyday, your life is likely a hot mess with no hope of redemption? According to recent research from CU Boulder, the answer to “more weed, more problems” is no.

According to researchers, legalizing recreational cannabis at the state level does not lead to an increase in substance use disorders. Or even increased use of illicit drugs among adults. In fact, it may even decrease issues related to alcohol abuse.

A study involving over 4,000 twins from Colorado and Minnesota found no correlation between cannabis legalization and any increases in cognitive, psychological, social, relationship, or financial problems.

“We really didn’t find any support for a lot of the harms people worry about with legalization,” said lead author Stephanie Zellers. “From a public health perspective, these results are reassuring.”

The study, published in Psychological Medicine, was conducted by researchers from the University of Minnesota, CU Boulder and the CU Anschutz Medical Campus. The study used data from two of the nation’s most extensive and longest-running twin studies: one located at IBG and the other at the Minnesota Center for Twin Family Research.

What Are Twin Studies? 

More Weed, More Problems?

Can twin studies prove that more weed doesn’t equal more problems? Well, what are twin studies?

Twin studies are research designs that compare identical (monozygotic) and fraternal (dizygotic) twins. The idea is that identical twins share all their genes, while fraternal twins share only about half of their genes.

So any differences between the two types of twins can help researchers identify which traits or conditions are likely influenced by genetics and which are likely influenced by environment. Researchers can use twin studies to study a wide range of topics, including genetics, development, and health.

IBG stands for Institute of Behavioral Genetics, a research center at the University of Colorado Boulder. The Minnesota Center for Twin Family Research located at the University of Minnesota.

Both centers conduct twin studies and have been collecting data over the years. And both centers are among the nation’s most prominent and longest-running twin studies. They provide researchers with a wealth of data on genetic and environmental factors related to human behaviour and development.

The Problem with Twin Studies

Of course, Twin studies are not without their critics.

  1. Assumption of equal environments: Twin studies sometimes assume that identical and fraternal twins are raised in similar environments, but this may not always be the case. For example, identical twins may be treated more similarly than fraternal twins, which could affect the results.
  2. Limited generalizability: Researchers often conduct twin studies on small, specific samples, such as twins from a particular country or region. This limits the generalizability of the findings to other populations.
  3. Missing heritability: Twin studies estimate the proportion of variation in a trait or condition due to genetics. But they do not account for all the genetic variation that may influence the trait or condition.
  4. Complexity of human behaviour: Many complex human behaviours and conditions, such as mental disorders or intelligence, likely result from multiple genes and environmental factors. Twin studies may not fully capture these interactions.
  5. Selection bias: Twins who volunteer for studies might differ from twins who do not volunteer, which can bias the results.

Twin Studies Disprove More Weed, More Problems? 

More Weed, More Problems?

The researchers of this “more weed, more problems” study compared the 40% of twins who reside in states where recreational cannabis is legal to those who live in states where it remains illegal to understand the overall impact of legalization.

Researchers have been tracking the participants, who are now between the ages of 24 and 49, since their adolescence. They’ve been gathering information on their use of alcohol, tobacco, cannabis and several other illicit drugs, as well as assessing their overall well-being.

By specifically comparing twins within 240 pairs, in which one twin lives in a state with legal cannabis and the other where it is not, the researchers aimed to identify any changes caused by cannabis legalization.

The researchers previously found that identical twins residing in states where recreational cannabis is legal tend to use it around 20% more often than their twins living in states where it remains illegal.

So does that mean more weed, more problems?

To answer this question, the team compared survey results that examined 23 indicators of “psychosocial distress.” Including the use of alcohol and illicit drugs like cocaine and heroin, psychological distress, financial difficulties, cognitive issues, unemployment, and relationship issues both at home and at work.

“We included everything we had data on with the goal of getting a well-rounded look at the impacts on the whole person,” said Zellers. “Big picture, there’s not much there.”

No, More Weed Does Not Equal More Problems

More Weed, More Problems?

So is “more weed, more problems” debunked?

Researchers found no relationship between legal cannabis and an increased risk of “cannabis use disorder” or dependency.

For years, critics have called cannabis a “gateway” drug to harder substances like cocaine and heroin. The researchers found no changes post-legalization.

“For low-level cannabis use, which was the majority of users, in adults, legalization does not appear to increase the risk of substance use disorders,” said co-author Dr. Christian Hopfer.

Not only does this study question the “more weed, more problems” narrative, but it also shows legal cannabis’ benefit. People in legal states are less likely to develop alcohol dependency problems, including driving drunk.

“Our study suggests that we should not be overly concerned about everyday adult use in a legalized environment. But no drug is risk-free,” said John Hewitt, professor of psychology and neuroscience at CU Boulder.

While the study found no adverse effects on the daily lives of cannabis-consuming adults, the study also found no evidence that legal cannabis benefited people’s cognitive, psychological, social, relationship, or financial status.

Overall, the study seems to suggest the same thing we have before. Substances are neutral. It is the person who can choose to use or abuse them. But the drugs themselves have no innate power of control.





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Health Canada: Let’s Ban Potent Cannabis Extracts  – Cannabis | Weed | Marijuana

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Despite a healthcare system already on the verge of collapse pre-COVID, Health Canada bureaucrats have focused on cannabis companies selling extracts.

Health Canada recently requested federally licensed cannabis companies to discontinue the sale of cannabis products the bureaucracy considers mislabeled. Health Canada is concerned adults are consuming products labelled “extracts” as “edibles.”

The move is expected to cost cannabis companies millions of dollars. And it comes at a time when most publicly traded cannabis producers are still losing money.

Why target products that have been on the market for three years? Health Canada has not responded to any media on the topic, including Cannabis Life Network’s request for clarification.

Health Canada: Let's Ban Cannabis Extracts 

While Health Canada’s targeting of cannabis extracts surprises many, others, like CLN, have been expecting this move for a while.

In the letter seen by MJBizDaily, Health Canada said that “upon further review of the products in question, Health Canada has assessed that this product is edible cannabis and, consequently, it contains a quantity of THC that exceeds the allowable limit of 10 mg per immediate container.”

The letter goes on to define “extract,” “edible,” and “food.”

“Health Canada has determined that (the products in question) are consumed in the same manner as food, and therefore fit the definition of edible cannabis,” the Health Canada letter says.

Cannabis extracts cannot exceed 1,000 milligrams per container, one hundred times more than Health Canada permits in the edible class. Ergo, companies would instead produce extracts than edibles.

However, the line has gotten blurred, and this is likely what concerns the bureaucracy’s busybodies. For example, New Brunswick-based cannabis producer Organigram has a “Jolts” product advertised as a lozenge. While each candy is 10mg, the entire pack of 100mg.

Likewise, Redecan has a cannabis extract containing 800 to 1000mg of THC per bottle. However, the oral dispensing syringe caps each “dose” at 8-10mg. 

Are these the products Health Canada wants discontinued?

Health Canada On Extracts: Useless

Health Canada: Let's Ban Cannabis Extracts 

Why Health Canada? And why now? Why at all?

Industry sources expect to lose tens of millions if Health Canada demands extracts and lozenges get pulled from the Canadian cannabis market. They also expect the illicit and legacy markets to fill the void.

Regardless of what you think about public health and safety or an individual’s freedom to consume as much THC as they want, there’s significant concern about how Health Canada is going about this.

This kind of regulatory enforcement is akin to banana republics. Health Canada has already approved these products. Organigram’s “Jolts” have been on the market for over a year.

Producers of these extracts followed all the rules and regulations. And now Health Canada will arbitrarily limit (or ban) these products because… what? Canadian consumers prefer potent extracts over weak-ass edibles?

The lesson here is to remove all THC limits, not bring the hammer down on companies producing legal products. This is not how you regulate an industry.

Infantilizing Adults

While Health Canada hasn’t responded to a request for comment, I suspect the justification will likely be over “public health” and “increased hospitalizations from high-THC products.”

Another way of saying: we’re so bad at delivering health care that instead of improving it, we’re going to start controlling the behaviours that may lead people to need a hospital bed.

That’s the most insulting part of all of this. Health Canada treats adult cannabis consumers like children by limiting their autonomy and decision-making.

Actions speak louder than words. Health Canada bureaucrats (who live off our taxes) lack trust in cannabis-consuming adults to make their own choices and take responsibility for their actions.

When regulations are not based on evidence or are not well-reasoned, they are an infringement on personal liberty and autonomy.

Even with “conventional thinking,” in which government regulations are effective and immune to corruption and politics, it’s essential that regulators balance the need to protect public health and safety with the need to respect adults’ autonomy and decision-making abilities.

Health Canada’s crackdown on cannabis extracts clearly violates that balance. 

This situation would be like if Health Canada discovered that vodka and whiskey were stronger than beer. And so they order distilleries across the nation to arbitrarily limit their alcohol content and take the products off the shelves.

Health Canada has no business regulating cannabis. 

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