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F1, F2, S1, IBL And BX: Deciding Which Plants Are Best To Breed Through Decoding The Genetics Of Cannabis

For cannabis cultivators everywhere, finding the best genetic composition and keeping those traits throughout the generations is the ultimate goal. It’s also the goal of cannabis growers to experiment with their plants by cross-breeding them, creating new strains with completely different attributes and psychotropic abilities. But how exactly is this done, and how can you benefit from understanding the basic genetics and nomenclature of cannabis?

How Do You Breed Cannabis Plants?

Cannabis breeding is usually a step left for experienced growers, so let’s start with the basics first. Cannabis seeds are bred when a male cannabis plant of one strain pollinates a female cannabis plant of a different strain. The genetics of the male plant are then crossed with the genetics of a female plant, producing seeds of what we refer to as a hybrid strain. To do this, you’ll need to set up a pollination chamber away from your other plants so there is no cross-pollination occurring. Your male plant will be guaranteed to pollinate the female plant, which will continue producing buds but will also be producing seeds as well.

Easy-To-Grow Cannabis Strains

The Basics Of Cannabis Genetics

If you want to breed cannabis strains into new hybrid seed types, it’s important to know what specific terminology is used when describing cannabis genetics and lineages. If you’re buying cannabis seeds to grow, this is also useful information to know so you can identify the exact strains from which your seeds have descended.

What Is Meant By F1?

F1 simply stands for “first-generation hybrid,” or the first generation of offspring from your initial mother and father plants. F1 cannabis seeds are the first generation of seeds produced from initial pollination. These are considered to be the most stable of hybrid seeds, as they haven’t yet been crossed with another breed of cannabis. This subsequent generation is what’s referred to as F2.

Pure Indica Cannabis Strains

The Difference Between F1 And F2

F2, or “second-generation hybrid,” is the second generation of seeds that are produced after your F1 cannabis seeds have flowered and had the chance to breed with its brother and sister plants of the same generation. Two F1 strains that have been bred together create the F2 seed hybrids, two F2 strains that are bred create F3 seed hybrids, and so on.

How Selfing Produces S1 Seeds

Female plants can produce S1 seeds through a process called “selfing”. Selfing is a chemically-induced process by breeders that causes female plants a certain amount of stress, resulting in them producing male flowers. These male flowers will then produce pollen, which pollinates the rest of the plant through self-pollination. Female plants that have self-pollinated will then produce what is known as stable S1 seeds, or seeds that have been “selfed”.

What Are IBL Seeds?

IBL seeds, or “inbred line” seeds, are in-bred descendants of the original F1 cannabis seed hybrids. The term IBL is typically adopted after the F line has reached F5. Successful IBL breeding occurs after so much hybridization between plants of the same lineage that the IBL becomes almost like a strain of its own variety, having been bred from plants with near-identical genetics. IBL seeds have most likely been bred together to preserve and maximize certain desired traits, such as the pungency of the Skunk family.

Skunk Cannabis Strains

BX: Explaining The Process of Backcrossing

Backcrossing in cannabis breeding is the process of taking an F1 hybrid strain and breeding it with the original parent plant. The genetics of the F1 strain are crossed with the parent plant’s genetics, and the resulting seeds are referred to as BX1. Backcrossing cannabis plants is essentially how to stabilize a strain – in other words, how to preserve and guarantee certain desired traits that are shown in a particular plant.

What Are Fast Versions Of Seeds?

Certain strains have been bred to possess the stable and reliable qualities of autoflowers, which are known as “fast versions” or “early versions” seeds. These are F1 plants that have been bred with a strain of Ruderalis, which is known to be a very sturdy family of cannabis. Fast versions are best for growers who are new to growing, or who want something that will produce cannabis very quickly.

Fast Flowering Cannabis Seeds

What Should I Pick?

In the end, you should choose the seed that is the most stable, meaning a seed with reliable genetics where you know exactly what you’re going to get when you plant it, such as an F1, S1 or BX. If you’re looking at breeding cannabis yourself, it all depends on what types of strains you’re looking to grow more of or whether you want to experiment with breeding plants through cross-pollination. Regardless, it’s important to know how each type of cannabis strain is formed and its genetic history so you can be aware of exactly what you’re smoking.

Making Sense Of Cannabis Terminology

Although it seems confusing on the surface with so many letters and numbers, understanding the basics of cannabis genetics and cross-breeding will help you in the future to decide what you want to smoke, what you want to grow and if ever necessary, how and what you’ll want to breed together to get exactly what you’re looking for.

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Have you ever seen F1, F2, S1 symbols while reading about cannabis? Do you know what all that letters and digitals mean? Actually, it is really important while choosing the best genetics (and that is what everyone wants). It’s also will be helpful if you want to experiment with your plants by cross-breeding them, creating new strains with completely different attributes and psychotropic abilities.

top ibl strains

Colombian Gold is known for its pungent, woody, citrusy, skunky, and piney aromas and flavors.

Another one of the best landrace strains, Colombian Gold originated in Colombia’s Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains, an isolated mountain range in the Andes with a unique tropical mountain climate. There, it can rain 160 inches per year and temperatures range between freezing and 80°F.
Master growers from the region masterfully developed this iconic and historic landrace over centuries to have high levels of resin so they could produce handmade hash, called charas, that villagers smoke in their hookahs.

Whether you’ll be in the former or latter camp will be largely determined by your unique physiology, i.e. how your body reacts. If you’re partial to Sativas, this strain may not be for you. But if you’re a fan of Indicas and you have the opportunity to try it, go for it!
Expect earthy, piney, and sweet aromas and flavors.
While Durban Poison has only trace amounts of CBD (>0.2%), it does have a robust cannabinoid and terpene profile. CBG (0.6 – 1.4%), THCV (0.2% – 1.8%), Myrcene (up to 0.5%), and D-Limonene (up to 1.2%)
One of the most ancient cannabis strains in the world, Afghan Kush has survived invasions, wars, droughts, and tribal conflicts. This central Asian landrace originated in the Hindu Kush mountain region close to Pakistan and northern Afghanistan near the borders of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. For centuries, it’s been growing wild throughout the region.
With its signature citrus and skunk flavors and aroma and an incredibly uplifting high free of paranoia, Colombia Gold is this nation’s most popular landrace strain, loved and sought after throughout the cannabis-loving world. Colombian Gold is also known for producing its famous offspring, Skunk #1, arguably the most prominent strain in hybrid breeding.

Afghan Kush features earthy, woody, sweet, and hashy flavors and aromas.

Many cannabis connoisseurs are nostalgic for when landrace strains dominated. Here’s 4 of the best landrace strains to try before you die!

Purple Caper Seeds – Indica dominant - Body stone, relaxed, couch lock - Cherry, gasoline.

Chemdawg is a versatile indoor/outdoor strain with thick, upright branching, making it suitable to Sea of Green. Plants form a dense pine tree of serious, chunky, classically Indica buds. This strain is amenable to different gardening styles, and can work as well trained into multiple branches as it does in SOG gardens.
Indoor cultivation is best for Cherry Cookies’ Indica growth characteristics. This plant forms a symmetrical bush that averages 3 feet tall and 2 feet white. She prefers hydro and performs well with a multi-branch grow style, producing lots of branches with purple golf ball-size flowers. Expect dark, dense buds edging to purple with orange hairs. Purple Caper recommends keeping the environment at 80 °F (26.5 °C) during the light cycle and 60 °F (15.5 °C) when dark.

The Big Buddha Cheese x Cheese is a remix of a classic strain. First available in 2004, it was reworked to Version 2 in 2014. The BBCxC mother is a coveted original UK Big Buddha cheese clone. The father is an original Big Buddha cheese reversed clone with a true reversed backcross of the U.K. The slender, elegant cheese leaves look a bit like a Sativa, but the Indica heritage is immediately evident in this strain’s vigor, super-fast growth, and solid branching that spreads to soak up the light. Its electric lime-green color complements the compact foxtail buds that chunk up and get rich with calyxes near harvest.
Odor: Pungent, sticky or fruity
Strain Hunters Seed Bank – 70 I/30 S - Sedative, giggly - Fresh, fruity, sweet.
Indica buds are dense and tight. They form different shapes depending on variety. All of them are chunky or blocky. Sometimes they form continuous clusters along the stem, but their intense smells ranging from acrid, skunky, or musky to deep pungent aromas reminiscent of chocolate, coffee, earth, or hash. Indica smoke is dense, lung expanding, and cough inducing. The high is heavy, body-oriented, and lethargic.
Color: Dark green to purple

Feminised Seeds – 75 I / 25 S  – Calm, stoney, long lasting - Smooth, fruity.

From “seed to sale” it all starts with the talent, patience and insight of the breeders.

Colombian Gold is known for its pungent, woody, citrusy, skunky, and piney aromas and flavors. Another one of the best landrace strains, Colombian Gold ]]>