Cannabis Glossary – Cultivars and Genetics

Explore the fundamental terms that shape the cannabis cultivation landscape, from the specific traits of cultivars to the intricate science of genetics. Understand the nuances of different cannabis types and their unique characteristics without the fluff.

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A cultivar refers to a plant variety that has been produced in cultivation by selective breeding. In the context of cannabis, a cultivar is a particular plant type raised to have specific characteristics such as flavor, aroma, yield, or cannabinoid content.

male pollen sacs


Hermaphrodite cannabis plants possess both male and female sex organs. This allows them to self-pollinate and produce seeds without another plant. While this trait can be advantageous for the plant’s survival, it’s generally unwanted for growers who aim for seedless buds, commonly referred to as sinsemilla.


Indica is a subspecies of cannabis known for its short, bushy stature. These plants are typically associated with a relaxing and sedating effect, often preferred for nighttime use. Indica cultivars usually have higher cannabidiol (CBD) content than sativa types.


Cannabis ruderalis is another subspecies. It’s smaller and less common than indica or sativa, and it’s known for its ability to flower based on age rather than light cycle. Ruderalis genetics are often used in breeding autoflowering varieties of cannabis.


Cannabis sativa plants are typically taller with thinner leaves. They are known for their uplifting and energetic effects, making them suitable for daytime use. Sativa cultivars usually have higher tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content and are popular for their cerebral high.


The term ‘strain’ is a common but not scientifically precise term used to describe different cannabis plant types. Each strain is believed to have its unique set of characteristics, such as growth patterns, potencies, flavors, and effects, derived from its genetic makeup.

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