How to Create New Marijuana Strains: Breeding Guide for Growers

creating cannabis strains

Marijuana breeders often breed their plants to strengthen and purify strains, blend some traits, and improve some characteristics, such as higher yields, potency, special aromas, etc. In cultivating and breeding weed, you have to know the origin of your seeds and the type of genetics in them. When the seed seller cannot provide you a complete history and detail on how those seeds were created, you will never know what you can get.

Breeding Marijuana

Growing your cannabis is among the most rewarding and fulfilling experiences for every consumer. However, breeding and creating your marijuana strains can be so rewarding. This particular experience will let you be more creative, control more your plants, and get feedback regarding your strains while developing new skills.

Breeding marijuana can be as easy or complicated as how you want the process to become. Depending on the amount of time you can give in breeding weed, the new strains can be different from what is recently available in the market.

Plant Breeding Explained

Plant breeding is the fundamental procedure behind growing weed. Keep in mind that breeding is very technical and often carried out on a commercial scale. However, as cannabis strains are getting more legalized, breeding also becomes more popular. Everyone can do it themselves, so why don’t you give it a try?

The Basics or Fundamentals of Breeding Marijuana Strains

Weed plants can be male or female. Consumers focus more on female cannabis plants because only them produce the buds. Male cannabis strains produce seeds, not buds. However, males are very crucial for the entire breeding procedure. They play a crucial role in pollinating the females.

In creating new cannabis strains, breeders pick one male cannabis strain and another one. For instance, the Lemon Skunk and Super Silver Haze. They are the parents of Super Lemon Haze. The breeder found some excellent qualities in both Lemon Skunk and Super Silver Haze. He decided to combine them to come up with another cannabis strain that has all those desired characteristics.

To do it, the breeder needs either a male Super Silver Haze or Lemon Skunk. If he chooses a male Super Silver Haze, then the Lemon Skunk should be a female. After the process of pollination, the female strain will produce seeds showing the genes of both female and male plants. The breeder will then harvest all those seeds and grow them separately. That’s how he made a new hybrid cannabis strain.


Hybrid strains sold in the local dispensaries have possibly gone through a collection of trait selection and bred for several generations. It is normally done to produce a new cannabis strain that carries better genetic consistency and strength across lineage.

Every cannabis seed made during the breeding procedure would have various attributes from the parents. The difference or variation expressed will be called a phenotype. If you cultivated cannabis through seeds in the past, you might have learned that all of those seeds may grow and smell a bit different from one another. It’s a phenotype.

Due to that, the breeder will start hunting and searching for a strain’s specific phenotype. By doing so, he will get a more accurate copy of his targeted strain. In breeding marijuana, you may prefer to create seeds that have similar genes sets, which is something homozygous.

Having similar genes sets in cannabis seeds will make sure every plant will constantly be the same as others. This will dramatically reduce the time needed in searching for phenotypes. That will make those people who buy your seeds confident of their purchase as they always stay the same.

After crossing a cannabis strain, a breeder goes through the extensive selection procedure to get the right phenotype. To maintain the strain, he discards those phenotypes that do not show many similarities to the parent strain. Therefore, it is important to have a collection of well-defined, concrete goals for the new strain. This way, you can easily fine-tune a cannabis strain, changing it to the best version it could be.


With just about any plant, it is quite easy and exciting to move forward together with the genes that form new strains. In many cases, a breeder goes through the process called backcrossing. It is the process behind cross-pollinating a newly created strain with the original strain or itself.

This will form the homozygous inbred cannabis strain. At the same time, it strengthens and fortifies the genetics and makes the phenotypic qualities stable. Backcrossing will also allow for targeted genes to exist on the future generations with minimal differences. It will allow a breeder store genetics for a long time while being capable of working on other cannabis strains.

Choosing the Perfect Strains to Breed

To get started with the breeding procedure, the initial step will be strain selection. It will depend on your preferred traits or qualities that you want to see on the strain you’re about to create. It can either be a quick, easy process or a long, complicated one.

You may get started by choosing two of your favorite strains. However, the selection process becomes difficult once you focus on some factors. Those things may include the grow space, fertilizer preference, growing medium, environmental conditions, investment amount, time available, plant qualities, and the strain’s popularity. When buying cannabis strains, you should choose at least one strain sold as regular marijuana seeds.

Most of the strains you can buy today are hybrids that have more landrace genetics. They are getting more and more commonly available. Choosing hybrids usually mean you get reduced selection factors or constraints to create for as somebody else did it already.

Growing marijuana strains means nearly no extensive or complex selection procedure has taken place. It will let you choose the phenotypes that you want and enhance them further. You can cross them with other hybrid strains to produce new strains.

How to Get Started in Breeding Cannabis Strains

To get started in breeding marijuana, you must have all the essential skills and tools. Choose carefully the area where you will cultivate – it can be either outdoors or indoors. This factor will assist you in deciding what any other pieces of equipment you might require. Regardless of the region you choose, an extra closed location would be necessary for housing the male cannabis plants. Remember, all females should be in one area while males are in the other location.

Additional tools will be required. These include desiccant material like silica gel, artificial paintbrushes, and Ziploc bags. You can use an aluminum foil, vacuum sealer, food reservoir bags, or anything else that can reduce the moisture in storing seeds and pollen.


Breeding is all about patience and time. To become a breeder, you must admit and accept that uniformity is impossible to see in the offspring of those parents strains you bred. You need to be more patient as you take more time to come up with a new cannabis plant that matches your goals in mind. Making seeds that reflect the best of their parents requires time. You can’t get it all in just one cross. You need to do it several times.

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