420 Magazine Background

Cannabis Genetics Part 3

Smokin Moose

Fallen Cannabis Warrior
On a high plateau surrounding the city of Ketama grows most of the Cannabis used for kif floral clusters and hashish production. Seeds are broad-sown or scattered on rocky terraced fields in the spring, as soon as the last light snows melt, and the mature plants are harvested in late August and September. Mature plants are usually 1 to 2 meters (4 to 6 feet) tall and only slightly branched. This results from crowded cultivation techniques and lack of irrigation. Each pistillate plant bears only one main terminal flower cluster full of seeds. Few staminate plants, if any, are pulled to prevent pollination. Although Cannabis in Morocco was originally cultivated for floral clusters to be mixed with tobacco and smoked as kif, hashish production has begun in the past 30 years due to Western influence. In Morocco, hashish is manufactured by shaking the entire plant over a silk screen and collecting the powdery resins that pass through the screen. It is a matter of speculation whether the original Moroccan kif strains might be extinct. It is reported that some of these strains were grown for seedless flower production and areas of Morocco may still exist where this is the tradition.
Because of selection for hashish production, Moroccan strains resemble both Lebanese and Hindu Kush strains in their relatively broad leaves, short growth habit, and high resin production. Moroccan strains are possibly related to these other Cannabis indica types.
k) Nepal - (26 to 30 north latitude)
Most Cannabis in Nepal occurs in wild stands high in the Himalayan foothills (up to 3,200 meters [10,000 feet]). Little Cannabis is cultivated, and it is from select wild plants that most Nepalese hashish and marijuana originate. Nepalese plants are usually tall and thin with long, slightly branched limbs. The long, thin flowering tops are very aromatic and reminiscent of the finest fresh "temple ball" and "finger" hashish hand-rubbed from wild plants. Resin production is abundant and psychoactivity is high Few Nepalese strains have appeared in domestic Cannabis crops but they do seem to make strong hybrids with strains from domestic sources and Thailand.
I) Russian - (35 to 60 north latitude) Cannabis ruderalis (uncultivated)
Short stature (10 to 50 centimeters [3 to 18 inches]) and brief life cycle (8 to 10 weeks), wide, reduced leaves and specialized seeds characterize weed Cannabis of Russia. Janischewsky (1924) discovered weedy Cannabis and named it Cannabis ruderalis. Ruderalis could prove valuable in breeding rapidly maturing strains for commercial use in temperate latitudes. It flowers when approximately 7 weeks old without apparent dependence on daylength. Russian Cannabis ruderalis is nearly always high in CBD and low in THC.
m) South Africa - (22 to 35 south latitude)
Dagga of South Africa is highly acclaimed. Most seeds have been collected from marijuana shipments in Europe. Some are very early-maturing (September in northern latitudes) and sweet smelling. The stretched light green floral clusters and sweet aroma are comparable to Thai strains.
n) Southeast Asia - Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam (10 to 20 north latitude)
Since American troops first returned from the war in Vietnam, the Cambodian, Laotian, Thai, and Vietnamese strains have been regarded as some of the very finest in the world. Currently most Southeast Asian Cannabis is produced in northern and eastern Thailand. Until recent times, Cannabis farming has been a cottage industry of the northern mountain areas and each family grew a small garden. The pride of a farmer in his crop was reflected in the high quality and seedless nature of each carefully wrapped Thai stick. Due largely to the craving of Americans for exotic marijuana, Cannabis cultivation has become a big business in Thailand and many farmers are growing large fields of lower quality Cannabis in the eastern lowlands. It is suspected that other Cannabis strains, brought to Thailand to replenish local strains and begin large plantations, may have hybridized with original Thai strains and altered the resultant genetics. Also, wild stands of Cannabis may now be cut and dried for export.
Strains from Thailand are characterized by tall meandering growth of the main stalk and limbs and fairly extensive branching. The leaves are often very large with 9 to 11 long, slender, coarsely serrated leaflets arranged in a drooping hand like array. The Thai refer to them as "alligator tails" and the name is certainly appropriate.
Most Thai strains are very late-maturing and subject to hermaphrodism. It is not understood whether strains from Thailand turn hermaphrodite as a reaction to the extremes of northern temperate weather or if they have a genetically controlled tendency towards hermaphrodism. To the dismay of many cultivators and researchers, Thai strains mature late, flower slowly, and ripen unevenly. Retarded floral development and apparent disregard for changes in photoperiod and weather may have given rise to the story that Cannabis plants in Thailand live and bear flowers for years. Despite these shortcomings, Thai strains are very psychoactive and many hybrid crosses have been made with rapidly maturing strains, such as Mexican and Hindu Kush, in a successful attempt to create early-maturing hybrids of high psychoactivity and characteristic Thai sweet, citrus taste. The calyxes of Thai strains are very large, as are the seeds and other anatomical features, leading to the misconception that strains may be polyploid. No natural polyploidy has been discovered in any strains of Cannabis though no one has ever taken the time to look thoroughly. The seeds are very large, ovoid, slightly flattened, and light brown or tan in color. The perianth is never mottled or striped except at the base. Greenhouses prove to be the best way to mature stubborn Thai strains in temperate climes

3. Hybrid Drug Phenotypes
a) Creeper Phenotype - This phenotype has appeared in several domestic Cannabis crops and it is a frequent phenotype in certain hybrid strains. It has not yet been deter mined whether this trait is genetically controlled (dominant or recessive), but efforts to develop a true-breeding strain of creepers are meeting with partial success. This phenotype appears when the main stalk of the seedling has grown to about 1 meter (3 feet) in height. It then begins to bend at approximately the middle of the stalk, up to 700 from the vertical, usually in the direction of the sun. Sub sequently, the first limbs sag until they touch the ground and begin to grow back up. In extremely loose mulch and humid conditions the limbs will occasionally root along the bottom surface. Possibly as a result of increased light exposure, the primary limbs continue to branch once or twice, creating wide frond-like limbs of buds resembling South Indian strains. This phenotype usually produces very high flower yields. The leaves of these creeper phenotype plants are nearly always of medium size with 7-11 long, narrow, highly serrated leaflets.
b) Huge Upright Phenotype - This phenotype is characterized by medium size leaves with narrow, highly serrated leaflets much like the creeper strains, and may also be an acclimatized North American phenotype. In this phenotype, however, a long, straight central stalk from 2 to 4 meters (6.5 to 13 feet) tall forms and the long, slender primary limbs grow in an upright fashion until they are nearly as tall or occasionally taller than the central stalk. This strain resembles the Hindu Kush strains in general shape, except that the entire domestic plant is much larger than the Hindu Kush with long, slender, more highly branched primary limbs, much narrower leaflets, and a higher calyx-to-leaf ratio. These huge upright strains are also hybrids of many different imported strains and no specific origin may be determined.
The preceding has been a listing of gross phenotypes for several of the many strains of Cannabis occurring world wide. Although many of them are rare, the seeds appear occasionally due to the extreme mobility of American and European Cannabis enthusiasts. As a consequence of this extreme mobility, it is feared that many of the world's finest strains of Cannabis have been or may be lost forever due to hybridization with foreign Cannabis populations and the socio-economic displacement of Cannabis cultures worldwide. Collectors and breeders are needed to preserve these rare and endangered gene pools before it is too late.
Various combinations of these traits are possible and inevitable. The traits that we most often see are most likely dominant and the improvement of Cannabis strains through breeding is most easily accomplished by concentrating on the dominant phenotypes for the most important traits. The best breeders set high goals of limited scope and ad here to their ideals.


"The greatest service which can be rendered to any country is to add a useful plant to its culture."
- Thomas Jefferson

DJ Short
 
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