The small grower’s decision to cultivate medical marijuana versus recreational cannabis starts with the seed. That said, there is a huge selection of seeds available, from highly medicinal strains to Kush seeds that will obliterate you for hours. After deciding that you are going to try growing cannabis, your first major question is going to be, what kind of seed should you buy?
Popular representations of weed, such as memes, often lean toward the idea that getting as stoned as possible is the user’s sole purpose. Endlessly striving to become totally impaired has fed a lot of comedy situations in funny weed movies, but at this point in time its kind of old.
I mean old as in pretty tired.
By the time you’ve seen the 50th meme picturing a half naked woman lighting up a mega-joint, the amusement has worn off and the exploitation of women’s bodies to market weed comes across as pretty tasteless.
Nonetheless, there are some interesting aspects of this pursuit of being extremely stoned that are worth considering in relation to seeds.
Before cannabis was considered medicinal, it competed with alcohol for the attention of the recreational user.
It shared a lot of the same lingo as well as the goal of becoming buzzed, wasted, blotto, stoned or totaled. When both substances were showing up at a party or in a group of friends, its not surprising that pop culture’s advertising-driven celebration of excessive alcohol consumption would transfer to pot.
In turn, the ultimate value of getting completely lunched defined a particular market demographic, namely people who could handle or wanted that level of THC, which is the cannabinoid that makes you feel high. To service this demographic, grow-op cultivation of the cannabis plant developed ever stronger strains over at least two decades.
The Evolution of Endo
For the connoisseur of marijuana purple haze strains have replaced red hair in a perpetual search for the highest high. At the same time, it drove people away who didn’t want to be incapacitated or who felt paranoid or anxious when they used such strong cannabis.
Over the last ten years this situation has changed significantly. While there are still cultivators driving toward developing the most powerful strains, we’ve learned a lot about the different types and strains of cannabis. We understand more about the chemistry behind why that super strong weed worked well for some people, but was totally wrong for others.
And the amazing news is that you don’t have to learn that whole chemistry. Although, if that’s your thing I would recommend grabbing this Cannabis Breeder’s Bible.
What I’m going to give you here is a shorthand version of that new knowledge so that you can make a base-level decision about what kind of marijuana seed you want to buy. You can always do further research and you should, because this is still very much a quickly developing and changing area of horticultural and medicinal knowledge.
Marijuana Strains and Types
Once you know the four major types of marijuana plants, you can start to make a choice of what strain of seed to get. The strains are more like the bells and whistles that are hung on the main framework of the different types.
I’ll say more about the strains in a minute, first let’s get the main plant types laid out because you will make your first decision based on which of the following you prefer:
- Sativa, which most people can experience as a heady kind of high, can free up thinking, reduce stress, depression and associated anxiety, energizes, and can help find the giggles.
- Indica, a type that many find good for relaxing, can be felt more in the body, could help with sleep or any condition that manifests in the body, and some find it easier to focus especially for longer periods of time.
- Hybrid, which is the largest type, comprised of a Sativa/Indica mix. Most seed packs will have the exact percentage of each so you can choose your seeds by how Sativa or how Indica you want your plants to be. For example, if you mostly want the uplifted effect but in a more calm or grounded way, you now know to look for something like a 60% Sativa / 40% Indica mix.
- Hemp, which was mainly considered for its product potential as a raw material, is just lately found to have its own medicinal qualities. Juicing hemp has been more common in Europe and is now breaking into the North American market. I guarantee that people will be hearing a lot more about this in the near future, but you might find that this is a good fit for you.
So these are the types, what then are the strains? If you have ever heard of Kush seeds, White Widow or Diesel then you know some strains.
Each one has its own character and fragrance. Flavors can be close to many fruits with the most popular being in the blueberry, lemon, grape, and strawberry range, as well as the more savory herbal tastes traditionally associated with weed.
Every strain will lean toward Sativa or Indica so you know what type of effect it will have.
Generally, people decide what main plant type will work for them and then they fine tune that choice with the particular character of a strain.
So let’s say you prefer a heady but relaxed feeling, you might choose Candy Kush which has a sweet flavor, is mixed Sativa/Indica, and has a lot of pluses for the indoor grower. I’ll be talking more about how to chose a strain, but first we need to consider the medicinal side of the equation.
Medical Marijuana Seeds
One critically important active agent in cannabis is called cannabinoids which you might know as THC and CBD. There are quite a few others – in fact we are still discovering new ones – but these two are the major players.
As I mentioned, reaching the highest level of THC has been the goal of plant cultivators for decades because it is what gives the “high” effect.
Lately this research has made a hard turn toward CBD which has little to no detectable “stoned” feeling but packs a powerful medicinal punch.
Underneath that, a high CBD seed can still have a Sativa (energizing) or Indica (relaxing) effect so those plant types are still relevant. If you’ve had issues with anxiety linked to feeling too buzzed in the past, you can opt out of that scenario completely by going for the medicinal mojo of high CBD seeds.
So you can see that the strength of a seed and “getting high” are no longer the same thing — you can have strong medicinal effects without being stoned. Likewise, there was a myth circulating that a high THC seed was more about recreation whereas CBD was the only medicinal option. Hogwash.
Newer research is revealing that the elated effect of THC can be medicinal for people struggling with depression and certain forms of anxiety. All cannabis is medicinal. Its more a matter of what works for you and as you can see, your seed choice will help you tailor your grow to your specific needs and desires. Now before we get to where you might start looking for your personal favorite seed, there are a couple of basics to cover.
Feminised Seeds and Costs
When you look at seed packets you are going to see that many are labeled feminised seeds and they cost a bit more.
What this means, in a nutshell, is there are no male seeds in the package so the female plants will not be fertilized by a rogue male and go to seed.
Buds that don’t seed are denser and heavier with the crystals that produce a lot of the effects of the cannabis plant.
You might think, but what if I want to save money for my next grow and just make my own seeds?
I will be writing about growing for seed in a future article (subscribe to ensure you are notified of new posts), but to simplify for your first grow I would advise that you buy feminised seed and take the issue of sexing your plants out of the equation. You will be saving money anyways by providing your own supply of high grade organic weed.
For example, let’s say your first grow is somewhat disastrous with two of your seeds croaking from moment one and the others barely limping along. At the end of the day, all you get from this garbled grow is single ounce of cannabis bud from the whole lot.
Well that is still over 28 grams, so after doing the math it is definitely worth the price of a seed packet and not worth fussing over trying to make your own seeds. On top of that, you have the bonus of knowing everything about the source, type, strain and treatment of the bud you are consuming. Economically and in terms of health and safety, growing your own cannabis is a winning situation even after the cost of the seed.
Autoflowering Plants and Pest Resistance
Another label associated with weed seeds is “autoflowering,” which basically means it has been cultivated to automatically start flowering after a certain number of days.
Generally these plants will give you the shortest growth-to-harvest period since they have that timetable genetically imprinted.
Remember in the first article how I said you must turn into Mother Nature in order to grow indoors because you have to replicate the changing light of the seasons?
Well autoflowering plants take some of the guesswork out of that scenario.
Last but certainly not least is pest and mold resistance. Once again I’m going to say that you should look for a seed with good resistance for your first grow and the reason is completely practical. Whether indoors or out, you don’t know what curve ball your grow conditions will throw at you until you get it all going.
Consider that wherever you set up your plants you will have a certain amount of heat from a light source and moisture from watering and this combination can be inviting to nasties who want to feed off your plants in one way or another.
If you have other plants, there could be pests that barely hang on but will flourish with the heat and moisture situation of a cannabis grow. Opt to curtail this unwanted activity from the get-go by keeping an eye out for pest and mold resistant strains.
Marijuana Seeds Online
OK, the moment of truth has arrived! You know what type of plant you prefer, you know what labeling to keep in mind. Now you are ready to scan the choice of strains and order your marijuana seeds online.
If you have cannabis shops, head shops, gear shops, or some version of these where you live it is likely that they will have some seeds for sale.
If you live in a place where there are dispensaries, they will probably have the best selection, with cities such as Vancouver, Canada, leading the way in local choice.
However, the rest of us are more likely to find the widest selection of cannabis seeds online.
What I am going to do to wrap up this article is discuss a few choices and vendors to help you make your final seed choice. Online cannabis seed shops get it, they know that you might require confidential packaging and that a 5 – 7 seed packet is ideal for the start-up grower. A number will also throw in a free seed or two as a thank you gift.
I mentioned Candy Kush earlier, which is a feminised, autoflowering, low-growing, pest resistant plant developed by True North Seed Bank. It is a Sativa/Indica mix that is high in both THC and CBD which gives it a heady relaxed effect with a lot of medicinal benefits. As an added bonus, this plant is easy to grow and has a high yield, though its other attributes make it an excellent choice even if it produces less for the first-timer.
There are a good many cultivators looking to develop low to no THC plants by cross-breeding with hemp plants and Fast Eddy is one of the most successful examples at only 9% of the cannabinoid. True to its name, this feminised seed has a quick grow cycle, is autoflowering, and packs a lot of flavor.
Most people find that this strain delivers a low grade buzz that does not hamper daytime functionality while offering pain relief and an overall mellow feeling. Royal Queen Seeds’ Fast Eddy is medium height which means it requires some management when grown indoors, but this is something that you would be doing regardless of the strain and it will be covered in future posts.
If you aren’t sure whether you want to grow outdoors or in, Amsterdam Seeds’ Bianca Feminized is an easy-to-grow hybrid of the classic favorite White Widow and hardy mountainous Afghan strains that does well in both environments.
Clocking in at 85% Indica to 15% Sativa, this high THC plant provides a positive yet relaxing effect that makes it popular in Amsterdam coffee shops. Bianca is a low growing plant with a quick flowering cycle composed of beautiful white buds.
Your approach to growing marijuana may be that it will allow you to access premium bud that is otherwise out of your price range. If so then DNA Genetics’ LA Chocolate, a medicinal hybrid of their two most famous award-winning strains, would be my recommendation.
This short growing plant won’t take over your grow space and weighs in at 60% Indica to 40% Sativa for a smooth pain relieving effect. It is one of many cannabis plants that has a flavor reminiscent of something other than weed, so if the skunky smell turns you off, a blueberry, lemon or chocolate strain such as this one might do the trick.
Lastly, if you’re in this purely for the medicinal effects and have been reading up on the cannabinoids in hemp extracts, you might want to try your hand at growing this seed instead. For this I’m going to recommend Biona Organic or Yankee Traders but check for your country since shipping might be restricted. These must be whole raw seeds, not shelled, hulled, kernels, hearts or roasted. You can grow and juice hemp, sprout and eat, or grind the seeds to use in smoothies. While the roasted or ground seed is high in proteins and other nutrients, only the live plant will deliver the cannabinoids associated with health benefits.
Time to take the Leap
So hit the links in this article and take a little tour of the wonderful seed offerings literally at your fingertips. I have tried to start you off with some of the best selections for the first time grower, but you might opt for another strain you find online.
Just remember to keep in mind the benefits of feminised seeds, autoflowering and pest resistant plants. Watch the grow height because its a waste of energy to fight against the natural tendency of the plant. Choose a seed that will work with you as well as for you and your first grow will be off to a more successful start.
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