Why Does My Weed Have So Many Seeds

It turns out, cannabis doesn’t need its seeds to be fertilized. Most plants have male or female reproductive parts. Seeds of the same strain can produce different looking plants. These are called phenotypes, and to solve the problem, you must pheno-hunt. We show you how.

Why Does My Weed Have So Many Seeds

If plants have seeds, and cannabis is a plant, then there should be cannabis seeds in medical marijuana products. Right?

Up until the 1970s, all cannabis growers used cannabis seeds, and all cannabis products had seeds in them. Then, growers realized that cannabis doesn’t need to be fertilized to reproduce, and that seedless strains actually had a greater psychoactive effect.

Fast forward 50 years, and many cannabis growers now produce solely seedless strains. But, how does seedless cannabis reproduce, and why does it give a stronger high? Let’s investigate why medical marijuana is seedless, and what happened to cannabis seeds.

No More Cannabis Seeds: Growing Sinsemilla

It turns out, cannabis doesn’t need its seeds to be fertilized. Most plants have male or female reproductive parts: males produce pollen, females produce seeds and fruit. Female cannabis strains can still reproduce without being fertilized – they just end up reproducing near-identical copies of themselves.

These seedless cannabis strains are known as sinsemilla – Spanish for “without seeds.” These seedless plants produce much bigger flowers and yield more potent cannabinoids, making cannabis seeds a thing of the past for many growers.

Why is Medical Marijuana Seedless?

Cannabis strains with seeds produce far less of the cannabinoids THC and CBD. When a female cannabis plant is fertilized, it diverts resources towards growing seeds, and the flower from which cannabis products are made will stop growing. As a result, fertilized cannabis plants produce less cannabinoids.

These seeds are also hard to remove from cannabis products. Decades ago, people had to smoke cannabis with these seeds mixed in the flowers, resulting in a rather uncomfortable experience. The added time and labor to remove these seeds is costly for cannabis growers, and since seedless strains yield higher cannabinoids, it makes sense to grow sinsemilla instead.

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Why Seeds of the same Strain produce Different looking plants

Did you pop a bunch of seeds of the same strain, and yet every single one was different? Did you wonder if you did something wrong, or maybe the seed bank ripped you off?

Most likely, the truth is that you did nothing wrong, and the seed bank did not rip you off. Instead, you are looking at the phenotypic variety that can be expressed by the cannabis strain you selected.

What is phenotypic variety? Well in this article, we will explain how there can be variances among plants of the same strain. Before you select and maintain a mother for cloning, you must first ensure you have selected the right phenotype.

Growing from Seed can result in a lot of variation among your plants.

In this section, we will discuss how seeds produce different phenotypes. Later will discuss how to apply pheno hunting to your growing practices.

Seeds are the Children of Mother and Father plants

The act of breeding cannabis involves taking pollen from a male and fertilizing the female plant. This sexual conception will yield offspring that share traits of both the mother and the father. This is how new strain varieties are created.

The offspring of two plants should represent the traits of those two plants. But will it represent those traits equally? Or will it be dominated by traits of the father? Or the mother?

If there are multiple offspring, will they all share these traits equally?

Each Seed is a different Phenotype of the same Cultivar, Strain Variety

The concept of phenotypic variety is easy to understand when you consider that most brothers and sisters are both alike but different.

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Your mom and dad had kids, and their kids were all different. Sure, there are similarities among all of them, but they are all different in one way or another.

Sometimes the differences among offspring can be stark. And sometimes, two parents had a group of kids, and they are turned out pretty similar. That happens too.

And the same thing happens with cannabis. Every seed from a cannabis plant represents both the parent strain as well as its own unique identity.

Genotype vs. Phenotype

If we are to take the scientific language of biology and translate into cannabis, it goes a little something like this:

  • Genotype is the strain itself.
  • Phenotype is one individual version of the strain.

The genotype is the family name, say the “Smith Family.” John Smith and Pocahontas came together and formed the Smith family. The descendants that come thereafter will share the name “Smith” and will be members of the “Smith family,” but each will be a different phenotype with his or her own unique differences, along with shared similarities.

Why are there so many differences between phenotypes

There are several reasons why phenotypes can express differently. The first point we have already covered. The seeds of a cannabis plant are like children, and they will all have unique individual differences while sharing general similarities. There are other reasons, though.

One is that newer strains tend to have greater variation. This is because the breeder could have put the strain out even though it was a first generation.

Strains become more stable when they are replicated for many generations, but this takes years.

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When a breeder crosses a male and female, and gets seeds, that is merely one generation. The seeds from this cross would be considered F1.

If the breeder were to pop those seeds, select a male and a female, and cross those two phenos, then we would have an F2. That is because we took seeds of the same strain, and crossed them again.

Anything less than an F1 will have great variation. But an F2 will not be as stable as an F3, and so on.

How Phenotyping applies to Cannabis Cultivation

At Smokey Okies, we popped a couple dozen seeds of Banana Cake. This strain was created by In-House Genetics, and crossed Seed Junky’s Wedding Cake with Banana OG.

We had a lot of phenos but we only kept two. Banana Cake #1 is a funky green pheno, and Banana Cake #2 is a deep, dark purple pheno with a sweeter nose.

Two seeds from the same parents and the outcomes are wildly different. See below for a picture of each pheno.

Another example is California Dream. See the side by side of these two phenos. One was an ugly plant that had massive yields. The other pheno was lighter on the yields, yet had a darker hue, with a nice contrast between purple and the orange pistils.

how to implement phenotyping into your growing practices. Until then, rest assured that you did nothing wrong to create this outcome of wildly different plants. It is a part of the nature of the plant.

However, if you are wanting to seize greater control over the outcome – what farmer doesn’t? – then you must implement phenotyping and pheno hunting.