Cannabis, also known as marijuana or hemp, has been cultivated for millennia for industrial and medical use, as well as its psychoactive effects. Over the years, a multitude of strains of marijuana have been developed are development of new strains is ongoing to produce plants with better properties including such factors as taste and smell, colour and size of leaves, height and flowering time of the plants, and the level of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) the psychoactive ingredient of cannabis.
Essentially, cannabis strains are either pure breeds or hybrids. The pure breeds are Sativa, Indica and Ruderalis each of which has its own special characteristics.
Sativas are tall and thin with narrow leaves and are a lighter green. They originally come from Colombia, Mexico, Thailand and Southeast Asia. Sativas have tastes ranging from earthy to sweet and fruity.
Indicas originated in Afghanistan, Morocco, and Tibet. They are shorter with broad leaves and of a darker green. Tastes range from pungent to sweet and fruity.
Cannabis Ruderalis is a subspecies of Cannabis Sativa that flowers very early. It's not popular owing to its low THC content but is sometimes crossed with other species to shorten flowering time.
From these three familes but breeders have developed a myriad strains each with its own properties and many come with colourful names.
So how do breeders go about developing new strains of marijuana?
It's an involved process. The breeder needs to selectively choose male and female cannabis plants and breed them for several generations. Seeds produced by a germinated female will be F1 hybrids of both the male and female and have characteristics of both parents. Using advanced techniques can result in a stable final seed that will contain the attributes chosen by the breeder though variations will remain among the seeds. Unstable strains are much quicker to breed to these are not as desirable and reputable seed vendors won't sell them.
One example of a cannabis strain grown for special characteristics is lowryder. This is a hybrid strain of bred by The Joint Doctor and grows from seed to harvest in just 8 weeks. It also grows from a few inches to 2 feet tall.
Many of these strains are given evocative names by their breeders. These names either reflect the properties of the plant or its origin. With so many new strains appearing, the breeders or growers need to give them names to differentiate them.
Some have names from Hinduism such as Mandala, Sagarmartha and Nirvana, others more generalized names such as Spice of Life, Mr Nice and the homey, Williams's Wonder. Some strains, such as Haze and Thai are named after plants found growing wild in certain parts of the world.
So with all these thousands of strains to choose from, how do you go about choosing one? It all depends on taste. The best thing to do is to go online to the website of a cannabis seed vendor and see what's on offer. You'll generally find hundreds of strains to choose from and usually the sites are illustrated.
Remember to choose a reputable dealer with a long track record to make sure you don't buy substandard strains such as the unstable ones. And bear in mind that all the names originate in the mind of the breeder and may have little connection with the plant itself. For this reason, if you're buying cannabis seeds, you shouldn't use an exotic name as your main criterion.
So if you like the sound of cannabis strains such as super lemon haze and want to acquire some seeds of this exotic strain for your collection, you can buy cannabis seeds online and have them delivered by post.
It's perfectly legal to buy cannabis seeds in the UK as long as they're not for germination. You'll need to conform to local laws if you want them sent to another country. Check one of the online cannabis seed suppliers for more information.