Introducing New Genetics?!?!

By: Chris Edwards
April 11, 2016

Historical documents and artifacts tell us that humans have been cultivating the cannabis plant for at least five thousand years. Historically, the plant has been cultivated for religious and medicinal use, as well as for its fibrous material. As cultivation of the plant spread around the globe along with our hunter-gatherer ancestors, it adapted to regional environmental conditions, and began to take on distinctive characteristics. These early strains, with distinctive regional properties of smell, taste, appearance and potency, are widely known as "landraces". Well known examples include Afghani, Hawaiian, and Thai.

Pure landrace genetics have become increasingly rare. Today, nearly all cannabis strains are derived from hybrids of various ancestral genetics, which are frequently grown in environmental conditions which vary considerably from the indigenous region. The result is an endless list of crossbred strains developed by professional and amateur breeders all around the world.

Many of our patients read about strains, and request them by name based on the descriptions they read and hear about. We can truly appreciate the enthusiasm for sampling numerous different strains in an effort to find the ideal strain for one's specific medicinal needs. The goal of this article is not to temper that enthusiasm, but to offer an explanation for patients to better understand the limitations that Registered Marijuana Dispensaries must face when introducing new genetics.

Massachusetts state regulations require all new cannabis strains to be grown from seed initially, as opposed to cloning from a proven specimen. A staggering number of different cannabis seeds are readily available. However, when growing from seeds, a certain amount of genetic variability is expected. Some seeds will grow into plants with desirable characteristics, while others will not. An analogy can be made to human offspring. Some children of the same parents will be tall, while others are short. Some will resemble the mother, while others will resemble the father. You see the point. It is not uncommon to propagate and grow hundreds of cannabis seeds, only to find that none of them possess properties which are identifiable with the strain being grown.

Because Registered Marijuana Dispensaries in Massachusetts must comply with this regulation, introducing new genetics is challenging, and requires considerable patience. For example - We are asked regularly why we don't offer more than one Sativa strain. The truth is that we have grown numerous Sativa dominant strains from seed, but only one of them (Gorilla Glue) has worked out so far since being granted permission to grow back on 12/31/2014. We are constantly trying out new seeds in hopes of finding more worthwhile strains. It just so happens that a higher percentage of the seeds that have worked out were Indica dominant. To the conspiracy-theorists - sorry, the truth is not that exciting. We appreciate your patience, as we will eventually find more strains that work out - including Sativas!