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The legal cannabis market is brimming with different types of seeds, and experts believe that there are as many as 700 unique strains to choose from. While some growers prefer non-psychoactive seeds rich in CBD (cannabidiol), others prefer THC seeds.
When learning to cultivate your cannabis plants, whether your motive is business-focused or simply to enjoy different strains for personal use, it’s imperative that you first consider the type of seed(s) you plan on sowing.
THC, or “tetrahydrocannabinol,” as scientists like to call it, is a psychoactive compound of the cannabis plant. Although renowned for being a powerful antioxidant, THC may also cause mind-altering effects.
Because of its psychotropic composition, this cannabinoid is not ideal for everyone. On that note, cannabis farmers/home-growers benefit from brushing up on their knowledge of THC seed content.
When a cannabis plant is in the genetic development phase, it synthesizes CBDA and THCA. Once these precursor cannabinoids - both of which come from CBGA - are exposed to heat, they transform into CBD and THC. Just one CBGA molecule can metamorphose into either a THCA molecule or a CBDA molecule. However, it’s impossible for CBGA to turn into both!
On that note, you’re probably wondering how a cannabis seed determines which cannabinoids to produce, right? The answer depends on the presence of two enzymes, Enzyme 1 (E1) and Enzyme 2 (E2), that turn CBGA into CBDA or THCA.
Similar to most animals and plants found on Planet Earth, cannabis plants inherit two versions of their genes. E1 and E2 enzymes - responsible for converting CBGA into either CBDA or THCA - are encoded by two unique types of the same gene.
Since two copies of the gene are in each plant, there are just three possible outcomes:
The result is always predetermined based on the THC: CBD ratio; that’s without even mentioning the possibility of certain cannabis seeds producing other types of compounds, including terpenoids and flavonoids.
Let’s take a look at the three main strain categories that influence the overall THC: CBD ratio of cannabis seeds:
High-THC seeds, despite their popularity, are not the easiest to get your hands on. Seeds potent in THC are closely guarded, and their availability depends on the state in which a buyer resides; referring to state and federal laws is a must. Luckily, some types of strains are easily accessible.
Suppose you identify as a cultivator and want to produce a generous amount of THC with your green yields. In that case, you must seek out easy-growing seeds with a desirable THC profile, yield, flavor, and effects.
Let’s take a look at some recommended examples:
Since the laws governing both medical and recreational cannabis are slightly confusing - what with them regularly changing - understanding the legality of THC can be a complex matter. As of July 2021, 37 states and the District of Columbia have legalized cannabis in some form. However, depending on the location, certain guidelines and restrictions are in place for THC-containing cannabis.
It’s important to note that federal regulations and laws tend to differ from state-specific laws, which means that while the consumption of THC-rich cannabis may be legal in one state, it could be illegal in another. Someone who tests positive for or sells the psychoactive compound could face numerous consequences, which is why it is essential to assess the THC content of seeds before growing or consuming the plant.
Official federal regulators are continuously affirming that cannabis is a controlled substance, much like harder drugs, such as cocaine and heroin. Currently, cannabis is deemed to be a “Schedule I” drug as defined by the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). The good news is that many online sellers will discreetly and conveniently ship cannabis seeds in most states where cannabis cultivation is legal.
Remember that the THC composition of a cannabis plant is dependent on its genetic buildup. Therefore growers (of all experience levels) should perform adequate research into cannabis strains before purchasing seeds. Steer clear of hemp strains if you want your seeds to blossom into THC-laden plants since legally defined hemp doesn't usually grow with more than 0.3% of the psychotropic cannabinoid. Focus on THC-dominant strains, as opposed to “balanced strains,” if you want your crops to produce high levels of the cannabis compound.