How Many Strains Of Weed Are There?
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The complexity of the cannabis landscape has evolved as it has become more socially acceptable through medical and recreational dispensaries. The hundreds of different THC products, including edibles, tinctures, sprays, and oils have added to the plethora of options for the average weed enthusiast.
In addition to these unique items, the number of strains and options when it comes to traditional weed has also boomed with the cannabis marketplace becoming more ubiquitous.
This begs the question, how many different strains of weed are there? And how are these strains developed?
The Different Strains Of Weed
There are three main categories of weed that you will most commonly run into as the average smoker:
Each of these will have their own specific strains within the category, giving you both a different psychological and physical high. Knowing these differences is especially important if you are growing your own cannabis at home, allowing you to have ample quantities of weed while also experiencing the unique feelings from separate strains.
Known as the more “energetic” high of the three main categories, sativa plants carry a higher level of THC in comparison to the others. This will give you the creative and more exciting high many recreational users will desire.
Sativa strains will also provide relief for medical users who are treating depression or other mood disorders, balancing out many of the typical side effects with these afflictions. In terms of plant development, sativa plants are generally taller and thinner in comparison to other plants.
A shorter and wider plant in appearance, indica strains provide the opposite end of the spectrum in terms of the physical and psychological effects.
Known as the more “relaxed” high among the three, indica strains oftentimes will have a medicinal purpose, acting as a low-risk treatment for a number of medical issues.
Indica strains are great for pain relief, anxiety, or insomnia, giving users a relaxed and calming effect.
Hybrids are exactly how they sound, a mix between the effects of sativa and indica, giving you a blend of the highs you experience between the two. Hybrids will be the offspring of breeding two specific strains, giving you the customization to combine the desired feelings of the two.
How Many Strains Of Weed Are There?
It can’t be truly quantified how many strains of weed exist in the current landscape, with variations and crossbreeds being created almost constantly. The differences in the various strains come down to a few key growing factors:
- Growing process: hydroponic, outdoor, indoor, or specialized setups
- Environment: The variations in outdoor soil types, as well as natural environmental shifts, can affect the ending strain
- Lighting: The lighting cycle for plants have a great influence on how they grow, whether it is natural sunlight or indoor grow lights
- Nutrients: Supplementing various nutrients into already existing strains can improve the overall quality and health of the strain
- Crossbreeding: Combining two existing strains into one unique new strain through the growth process
Because of the massive amount of variables, new strains are being created and tweaked all the time by professionals and home growers alike. It has even become a trend among celebrities to have their own strains of weed, with famous names such as Snoop Dogg, Willie Nelson, Tommy Chong, and Kevin Smith having their own strains and THC product lines available to the public.
How Does Crossbreeding Work?
While the female cannabis plants are usually the most desired gender, giving you the precious result of highly potent buds, the males serve a crucial role in the breeding and pollination process. Having the male plants from one strain and then creating an effective environment for breeding with females from another strain will result in the mix between the two.
Crossbreeding is done within a breeding chamber, with the male plants being grown in close proximity with female plants. Quickly moving from the vegetative state to the flowering stage, you will wait for the male plants to develop their pollen sacs for the process to begin.
Once the male plants begin to release pollen during the flowering stage, it will be released and subsequently pollinate the surrounding female plants. While this will naturally happen through the air, you can also help by disturbing some of the pollen for more efficient pollination.
As the female plants grow and mature throughout the flowering stage, they will begin to develop the expected buds and seeds towards the end of the flowering stage. If the cross-pollination is successful, these new seeds will be a crossbreed between the two strains.
Finding out which particular strain of weed fits your needs and preferences can open up a door to experimentation through crossbreeding and combining your favorite strains. If you like the body high from one specific indica strain, but enjoy the mood-altering effects from a separate sativa strain, the ability to crossbreed at home to create a mashup of the two can be a fun and eye-opening experience.
This also extends to over the counter weed purchases, with your favorite strains being combined and tweaked all the time by professional growers. No matter what kind of smoker you are or which high you desire, there will always be a strain to accommodate your needs.