What Makes a Strain Unique? Marijuana Genetics

Creating a unique marijuana strain is an art and a science. To get you started, here is a basic guide to marijuana genetics, genotypes and phenotypes.

The marijuana industry is huge.

In 2015, it created over 18,000 jobs in Colorado and brought in billions of dollars.

With sales that high, it’s obvious that marijuana products sold are top notch; and that being said, they all vary greatly.

There are hundreds of marijuana strains out there to buy. But have you ever wondered how they’re made?

Here’s a quick guide to marijuana genetics, how they work and how they make unique strains of marijuana.

Marijuana Genetics: How Genotypes and Phenotypes Relate to Environment

Strains of marijuana have genetic variations. These variations make them unique from each other.

Marijuana is a plant, which means it has a specific genotype and phenotype. A genotype is genetic information that determines its growth, appearance and other characteristics. A phenotype is the physical appearance of a genotype in action.

Genotypes can be carried by plants but not be present as a phenotype once they’re fully grown. This is where environment comes into play.

The environment in which marijuana is grown in has a lot to do with the final product. The environment is taken into careful consideration when it comes to marijuana genetics.

For example, a specific type of marijuana could have the genotype to be purple. Depending upon the environment it’s grown in, that plant could become a color other than purple. By changing the temperature in which the plant is developed in, this phenotype can come to life.

Other factors that can affect phenotypes include soil the seeds are grown in, light exposure and nutrients given to the plant while it’s growing.

Growing marijuana plants is requires so much more detail and attention than other plants. There are specific practices that producers use to make the best products possible.

How Hybrid Strains Are Made

A popular trend in the marijuana industry is to develop hybrid strains of marijuana. This is done by combining marijuana genetics from multiple species.

The most common form of hybrid marijuana is the combination of Indica and Satvia. Satvia is known to have uplifting effects; Indica is known to be more mellow. Combining the two can produce unique and enjoyable results.

So how are they combined? Growers cross-pollinate the two types of marijuana to create the desired hybrid. This means that they have a female plant and a male plant pollinate freely in a controlled environment.

The cross-pollinated offspring becomes the mother plant for future generations of the hybrid strain.

Through cross-pollination, there are endless opportunities for different strains of marijuana to be developed. This keeps the industry thriving because it can always have something new and exciting to offer consumers.


Overall, marijuana is a plant species that has the power and potential to create hundreds of interesting new strains.

By understanding marijuana genetics, you can have a better understanding of the attention and devotion that goes into creating these unique products.

Still curious about the science behind marijuana? We regularly post information about cannabis on our blog — click here to check it out!

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