What Strains Are
Cannabis strains are pure breeds or hybrid variations of cannabis, usually belonging to the species cannabis indica or cannabis sativa. Strains are mostly used to promote a combination of properties of the cannabis plant or for marketing purposes, and are typically named by their growers. The strain’s name may allude to the properties of that particular strain.
Strains are usually made from two main branches of cannabis, the traditional cannabis sativa, a longer and narrower plant, or cannabis indica, which is relatively shorter. The indica species has been discovered and mentioned second by the science world, and is generally characterized by having a poorer fiber quality than the sativa, but being more potent as a psychoactive drug. There is a third species known by the name cannabis ruderalis, which is different from the first two in some distinctive aspects. It is very short, and produces relatively low amounts of THC, making it much less fitting for creating a strain. It is generally possible to create strains of different origins, such that they combine sativa and indica genes.
Strains Types and Making Strains
Strains may be categorized into different groups depending on the definition. There are clone-only strains, which are based on taking a particular plant of cannabis and growing clones of it for distribution. In addition, there are stable seed strains, which involve breeding male and female cannabis plants over the course of a few generations in order to create a new strain with the desired qualities. This is a long process of stabilizing a particular strain with particular qualities which the grower desires, which has given this type of strains their name. Unstable seed strains are usually the result of ‘wild’ combinations of different cannabis plants, and while creating them is naturally a faster process, some shops may be reluctant to distribute such plants. Last but not least, there are wild strains found to have grown naturally in the
Breeding New Stains
The process of breeding or creating new strains involves pollinating a female cannabis plant with male pollen, in itself a natural process. Where creating particular strains comes in is the selective breeding process as part of a controlled and monitored environment, usually indoors. The process involves separating the male plants from the female flowers to prevent accidental fertilization of the females. At the same time, the pollen produced by the males is caught to be preserved for when needed. Once an appropriate male has been chosen, it will be combined with the females to create a new generation of plants containing traits of both parents, the so-called F1 hybrids in biology. Amongst the offspring, plants with particular traits sought after by the breeder will be generally isolated and then bred again with a parent plant. This process is repeated usually at least three generations before certain traits in the offspring have been genetically stabilized.
Different Prominent Strains
Within the world of cannabis strains, many strains have evolved from the skunk, introduced during the 1980s. It is a cross breed of sativa and indica, considering a relative mild amount of 6% to 15%, although may contain more when sold in coffee shops in the Netherlands. Netherlands Weed, or in Dutch Nederwiet, is a variation of skunk with very high potency levels, approaching 30% THC in some setups.Purple Kush
Amongst the more known or ‘top’ strains is purple kush, a strain meant mostly for recreational drug use. As its name suggests, it’s somewhat purple in its looks. It is made up of indica cannabis, growing up to three feet in height, and containing a relatively high THC level, considered one of the strongest strains of cannabis used as marijuana. It is a pure indica strain, with a flowering time of 50-60 days, harvest usually being in early October.
On to the White Widow, it is an Australian strain reputed for being highly potent. It is an almost equal cross between sativa and indica, containing around 60% indica and 40% sativa. Plants of the strain grown in Amsterdam are said to contain around 20% active THC, while going over the counter for around $20-25 a gram. Since its creation, this strain of cannabis has been largely popular throughout the world.Alaskan Sweet Skunk
Amongst the highest rated indica dominant strains there is to be found the Alaskan Sweet Skunk, containing 65% indica and 35% sativa. Being less potent than other strains, it is recommend for cases of insomnia or muscle spasms. It is followed on the list of indica dominant strains by the White Rhino, with impressive THC content of up to 25%, containing as much as 90% indica and being thus an almost pure bred indica.AK-47
Going over the list of highest rated sativa dominant strains, there is the AK-47 with a balance of 65% sativa, 35% indica and THC contents of roughly 22%. It is recommended as a sleeping aid or for pain management, and is reputed to have a smooth, hashy taste, containing genes from Thailand, Afghanistan, as well as Columbia and Mexico. It is mostly white in appearance, and was first bred in 1992. Another sativa breed, an almost pure one (90%), is the Green Crack, and is good for stress, anxiety or appetite stimulation, containing up to 20% THC while having a relatively short flowering time.
On the side of historical or pop culture references, the Acapulco Gold, a potent strain of cannabis originating from Acapulco, Mexico, has been commonly featured in Western culture, its usage being mentioned as early as 1965. There have many different references to this breed of cannabis, including the Led Zeppelin in their song “Over The Hills And Far Away” during live performances, as well as associations with the Beatles, and several other mentions throughout modern history.
In addition to strains mostly targeted at recreational consumption, there are also strains made almost exclusively for medical purposes. One of them is the Granddaddy Purple, a purple indica strain with a flowering time of 60 days, which can grow up to 3 feet tall indoors, and offering potential yields of 5 to 8 ounces.