Cannabis Plant Types +

Origin of Cannabis Plants

The three original cannabis breeds were:Cannab2

  • Sativa
  • Indica
  • Ruderalis (not used for medical purposes, rare)

These original cannabis plants were found in different but specific regions of the world.

They grew in very different climate patterns.

Over the centuries, the cannabis plant has been cultivated and cross bred by people in a multitude of different places around the world.




Pure Breeds

These days, it’s difficult to find cannabis plants in a pure bred form, but you will find places that sell landrace or heirloom seeds. These seeds can be expensive.

When I’m finally able to acquire some, you bet I let you know how it goes.

Here’s a list of some Pure Breeds you might find heirloom seeds for.

Purebred strains


Inbreeding is defined as the mating of two organisms closely related genetically producing an organism of similar (pure) genetic code.

sativa 3
Sativa Dominant Cannabis

Inbreeding cannabis plants will establish a stable breeding point for cultivators.

When starting, breeders choose the parent plants based on qualities like;

  • smell
  • taste,
  • growth pattern,
  • resin production (and more).


These characteristics are influenced by a combination of genetics and environment.

Environment causes the plant to strengthen and express certain genetic characteristics and suppress others.

(The same plant grown in two different places will yield two different results despite having the exact same genetic code “clones”).

Inbreeding is performed through the selection of females with desired bud qualities; these females are bred with a male of the same species.  This generation of seed is then bred with the same male to produce a pure breed.  Be careful with inbreeding too many generations, the plant will start show signs of defect.

     Outbreeding defined as the mating of two plants, not closely related, producing a new plant. (Hybrids)

indica 1
Indica dominant cannabis


Outbreeding or cross breeding is taking two pure bred plants with different desirable qualities and mating them to produce a plant with all the desirable qualities of the parent plants (at least that’s the idea)

But genetics is a gamble, (just like having kids…lol).

However, if you continue with the breeding process you will get a consistent plant with certain desirable qualities of both the parent plants.

qualities of cannabis

You’ll notice I did not discuss the THC/CBD ratio, this is because the THC/CBD content has been crossed over so many generations and through so many geographic changes that it varies from plant to plant.

Whether sativa or indica originally had more or less THC/CBD  will continue to be a mystery.

Many people rely on the CBD and THC content to suit their medical needs, that information can only be found in a lab so talk to your local bud tender about their product.

What about Ruderalis??

Ruderalis is not common in the United States.  It is seen more often in European countries.  Medicinal uses have not been recorded, it produces very little THC, and it’s difficult to grow.Ruderalis

Breeders found a use for this plant in its genetics. The auto-flowering genes, which are unique to the ruderalis plant, make bud production “automatic” regardless of lighting conditions.

Ruderalis can be bred with sativa or indica (probably hybrids as well).  all in the hope of making a breed with good bud production that’s even easier to cultivate.


Stable Strains: These are buds that have gone through the proper breeding process and each generation is producing similar, consistent results.

These will be your top dollar strains.

three branchesUnstable strains:  These are buds that are usually grown with unknown plant origin and are cross bred with something else of little known origin.

(This is where the names get confusing).

Honestly, about everything on the market is a hybrid of some kind, and that doesn’t mean it was cultivated using all the steps necessary for true breeding.

But we love these cannabis plants anyway…right!!!



Properly labeled or an “informed” bud-tender should be able to tell you the basics on how certain products it will affect patients.

Labels might look like this:


(Showing the approximate percentage of the THC/CBD and the dominant breed.)

Here’s a list of some of the most popular breeds in California;

popular strains

Sources  of Information I used in my research include;

Some Photos used from:×340.jpg
Cannabis sativa (marijuana plants) (Manhattan, Kansas, USA) 10 via photopin (license)


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