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Phenotypes: Origins of Your Favorite Varieties

If you’ve ever wondered how your favorite cannabis varieties came to be, we’ve got you covered in this blog post. Here, we discuss phenotypes, breeding, and so on.

Jason SanderJason Sander · Apr. 21, 2021 · 4 min read
Phenotypes: Origins of Your Favorite Varieties

Ever wonder how your favorite cannabis varieties came about? In this article, we give a brief overview of phenotypes, breeding, and so on.

If you’ve ever visited a dispensary and felt overwhelmed with cannabis cultivar names, the difference between Indica and Sativa, and so on - you’re not alone. The basics of this come down to cannabis breeding - which is fundamentally just combining different male and female plants. The result of this combination is referred to as a hybrid - the goal of which is to form a new cultivar consisting of the best traits of the parent plants. Examples of these traits include better flavor and aroma, higher potency, and a better yield at harvest time.

Cannabis breeding is certainly nothing new - as it is an integral part of creating your favorite kinds of cannabis. The botanical practice of breeding has benefited greatly thanks to significant policy reform and legalization throughout the last few years. If growing at home is legal where you live and you’re interested in doing so, it’s important to know where your seeds are coming from. If you don’t know the origins of your seeds, it’s next to impossible to know what kind of plant you’ll eventually grow.

Basics of Cannabis Breeding

In the most simple of terms, cannabis breeding comes down to male and female plants. The female plants produce the flower (aka buds) that we all know and love. However, breeding is not possible without the male plants that pollinate female plants and offer specific traits of their own. For instance, a popular choice of cannabis enthusiasts right now is WiFi - which is a hybrid cross of White Fire OG and White Rhino. White Fire OG and White Rhino are known as the parents of WiFi.

When it comes to proper breeding, early identification of a male plant is required so the females can produce buds. When males are identified, they must be removed from the females so they don’t pollinate the females. One male can pollinate all the females in a growing area, which can result in thousands of seeds but few, if any buds. Just as the Indica and Sativa classification system is lacking and isn’t an exact science, neither are the genetics of cannabis breeding. As so many plants are the result of countless rounds of breeding, it’s next to impossible to know the exact lineage of the cultivar you’re growing or consuming, seeds or cannabis products from reputable dispensaries, you increase your chances of knowing what you’re ingesting.

Cannabis Breeding - Phenotypes

As previously mentioned, the cannabis products you purchase at dispensaries and retail locations have been put through a process of countless generations of breeding. The goal behind these processes is ultimately to strengthen plant genetics, stabilize cultivar health and increase the chances that seeds will produce consistent plants. Just as no human is a replica of their parents, the same holds true for cannabis plants. Many rounds of cross-breeding eventually result in various expressions of the parent female and male plants. Different combinations of various traits in parent plants result in what’s known as phenotypes.


When male and female plants are successfully crossed and a hybrid is developed, a grower selects the phenotype that has the most attractive traits. For cannabis processing facilities with large-scale, commercial outputs - the goal is usually to pick a phenotype that will be best served for mass production. With home growers, on the other hand, cannabis enthusiasts tend to favor phenotypes that best suit their preferences. These include traits like flavor, aroma, smoothness, potency, and so on - that the home grower likes best. For those of us interested in legal home growing, it can be rewarding. Growing at home saves money, and can eventually result in the ability to pick phenotypes that offer the best traits of our favorite cultivars.

HashDash - Education & Entertainment for the Cannabis Community

We hope you found value in our content about cannabis breeding and phenotypes. Be sure to check back to our blog often, because we post fresh content every week!

What’s your favorite cannabis phenotype? We want to know what you think! Hit us up on social media - @HashDash on all platforms, except for Instagram - where we are @hashdashdotcom.

Here at HashDash, we are compiling an entire information database that will continue to answer your questions regarding all things cannabis, as well as where to find the best dispensaries in your area.

Be sure to sign up for HashDash if you haven’t already to discover your cannabis matches.

Thanks for reading, and please consume responsibly!

Jason Sander
Jason SanderJason is a versatile writer and marketer with over ten combined years of experience working with clients in various industries. He couples this expertise with six years of writing for the cannabis sector as well as a passion for the business side, and the science behind the plant medicine.




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