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Modern strains of cannabis have become more potent, effective, and consumer friendly in recent years as a result of strain breeding and science. It was not long ago that recreational marijuana was commonly contaminated with seeds and wilted buds. Thanks to the modern state of medicinal marijuana in Colorado, breeders literally have growing down to a science. Today, many flavors, potencies, and colors are available and readily cultivated. Many patients, however, are not aware of the history and science responsible for the quality product available today.
There are basically two types of cannabis strains each possessing distinct qualities: sativa and indica. All plant breeds are based on these basic strains, most containing varying degrees of both strains. Indica plants tend to have a more robust, full body effect. Typically indica is described as giving a heavy, full body effect on the patient. Heavy indica strains are commonly used for patients with major chronic pain or patients who need help sleeping. Sativa plants, on the other hand, tend to provide a lighter more “cerebral” effect on the user. People who do not want to have a lethargic, sluggish reaction tend to be attracted to sativa strains. There is a third common strain known as ruderalis. This type of cannabis is a naturally wild growing plant than breeders use in hybrid growing. Ruderalis is not really known for distinctive qualities and is not considered for its effect on the patient. It should be known, however, that it is used for hybrid breeding as it is a strong, resilient plant that helps hybrids survive the growing process.
Modern strains and flavors would mean nothing without the history behind early breeding. For decades, breeders and growers have been perfecting the science of marijuana growing, thus providing the patient and connoisseur quality product. Those who are old enough to remember slang from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s may recall terms such as “Acapulco Gold” and “Colombian Wacky.” These terms obviously referenced the breeding ground for a specific plant. Commonly, however, most plants were contaminated by seeds, providing a lower quality product. Then came the term “Sensemilla”, which commonly meant quality, but many do not know the true meaning behind the term. Sensemilla is Spanish for “seedless.” Modern product is commonly seedless, lush, and full, thanks to early pioneers of marijuana breeding. Early Sensemilla breeders paved the way for larger, fuller, and more flavorful breeds enjoyed today. One of the more popular modern strains is known as Kush. Kush is a term used to describe a strain with high indica properties – originally procured from the India Kush mountain region. Usually, there is a flavor associated with a kush breed, such as bubblegum, pineapple, and dozens more.
Most breeds can be traced back to its regional roots. Indica, the strain known for its heavy, numbing effects both mentally and physically, was originally bred from Afghani plants. Prior to the introduction of Afghani strains in the 70’s, most strains were sativa plants. Currently, most plants carry both traits, but one must credit the Afghani strain for the introduction of the indica strain. It is worth mention that all strains originated in Afghanistan are indica plants; nearly every other strain is sativa. Due to its abundant release of resin, many Afghani plants are used to make hashish and other products using a resin base; candy-like edibles, for example.
Thanks to the early pioneers of breeds such as Sensemilla and Afghan indica, the modern connoisseur can enjoy a wide variety of flavors and effects. Today, based on these early strains, breeders have the foundation to create literally thousands of combinations limited only to the imagination. Infusion of flavor has also become common place in modern plants. Everything from fruity flavors such as blueberry and grape to savory flavors like chocolate can be enjoyed by the modern connoisseur. Breeding has roots in both history and science, giving way to a bounty of quality breeds that will only continue to progress as breeders become more inventive and creative.