Cannabis Seeds 101: Regular vs Feminised vs Autoflower vs CBD

This article breaks down the pros and cons of each type of seed so you can make the best choice for your garden.

Planting season is coming up, and the care you take now will make all the difference. The first question to ask yourself is what cannabis seeds you want to use for your plant. Is it possible to have an autoflowering plant? Are you a person who uses regular seeds? Would you rather use feminized seeds? Or do you want to grow a plant that’s CBD-rich?

When growers choose cannabis seeds, their decision usually falls into four categories: regular, feminized, autoflowering and CBD-rich seeds. Each of these types of cannabis seeds have their own differences in cultivation, size, and yield. Popularity between them varies depending on the grower’s needs.

First of all, which one is the best? Which is more potent? Which is the easiest to grow? Let’s start by understanding cannabis seeds.

Translated to cannabis, one type of seed may suit you better than another. You should think about your goals as a grower and select your seed accordingly. Do you enjoy the natural process or getting high? Do you value quality or quantity? Before buying seeds online, make sure to think about which seed is best for you.

Cannabis Seeds 101 Regular vs Feminised vs Autoflower vs CBD
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Regular Cannabis Seeds

Regular cannabis seeds are pure genetics, bred by male and female sources and producing about 50% male and 50% female offspring.

The workings of cannabis are simple. Both male and female plants must be used to create seeds; however, only one of the plants is required. This is because sex falls on a spectrum, and cannabis reproduces by direct pollination of a female plant by a male one without relying on pollinating insects, like bees. Pollen is produced by males, and it is used by females to create seeds for the next generation. If you’re just looking to grow weed for buds, you’ll need a female plant to get there.

Female plants grow flowers that we, humans, love to smoke, vape, eat, or cook. At first, you might think that male plants are useless because they don’t produce any fruit or flowers. However, if you remember that we need both male and female plants to produce seeds, then surely, you’ll understand why males are important.

However, cultivating five female plants in the presence of a single male specimen can accidentally prompt all your female plants to produce seeds, so you may want to remove it from your grow tent or garden. This way, female plants cannot produce seeds, which means they will have bigger buds, more trichomes, and a more potent smell.

How do you know if the cannabis seed is male or female?

This is a common question. Cannabis seeds cannot be sexed by appearance alone, and you won’t be able to tell if it’s male or female until the plant enters the pre-flowering stage.

Once the plant starts to flower, the branch nodes will start to grow. Nodes are where a branch meets the main stem of the plant. Sex organs will grow from the nodes, like pistils (small, white, hair-like growths) or pollen sacs (small, ball-like growths). If you see pistils, it means it’s female. If you see pollen sacs, it means it’s male.

There are a lot of choices out there. There are indica-dominant and sativa-dominant strains, high THC and CBD varieties.

Advantages of regular cannabis seeds:

  • They are the originals with purer genetics.
  • It is essential for growing and developing new strains.
  • Good cuttings for making safe clones.
  • Male and female plants have an equal chance of being produced, so you can easily create new seeds.
  • Allow breeders to use male plants to create a pollen bank.
  • Regular plants are less likely to turn into hermaphrodites when they’re under stress.
  • A wide range of genetics is available.
  • Lower price.

Disadvantages of regular cannabis seeds:

  • It’s possible that it’ll be unreliable in unexpected ways.
  • Sensory acuity causes motor disorders.
  • Female plants can be fertilized by unintentional males in the greenhouse.
  • Male and female plants must be differentiated in separate grow tents or vegetable gardens.
  • Requires a lot more space.
Cannabis Seeds 101
Image captured by @picture_fotografie

Autoflowering Cannabis Seeds

Following their introduction in 2008, autoflowering seeds were an improvement over the normal or feminized variety. Autoflowering seeds are a new and innovative type of seed that was created through the infusion of ruderalis genetics into today’s popular Indica and Sativa hybrids. Ruderalis genetics come from regions of Russia and Alaska where cannabis plants adapted to cold weather and long days and nights. As a result, this type of ditch weed is incredibly resilient, non-photoperiodic, and flowers after about 4-5 weeks of growth regardless of the amount of light it receives.

Autoflowering seeds are more accessible and require less maintenance. Although they bloom in a limited amount of time, they’re typically better for first-time growers than other types of seeds.

There are many things to consider when breeding marijuana plants. Some seeds can be both feminized and autoflowering, some can just have one of these characteristics, or neither of them.

We’ll start with the basics. What are autoflower seeds? Autoflower seeds are named for their ability to flower automatically without the need for a change in light cycles.

Feminized’ seeds produce only female plants. ‘Autoflowering’ seeds will automatically begin blooming 2-4 weeks from the time the sprouts were planted.

Auto-feminised seeds are, in essence, the perfect plant. They are 100% female, with flowers that automatically grow and produce buds. Infamous for their autoflowering trait, these cannabis seeds are made by crossing a sativa or indica with the lesser-known ruderalis strain.

One of the great things about this new era is that we have access to autoflowering seeds that are more potent and generous. For a long time, most plants of this type were low yielders with low THC levels, but now through extensive breeding, autoflower marijuana seeds can produce larger yields and more potent buds.

Advantages of Autoflowering Cannabis Seeds:

  • Speed is the biggest advantage of autoflowering seeds. They develop quickly without much effort for the grower.
  • They can be grown outside in almost any climate.
  • You can grow two or more harvests per season outside.
  • You can grow both veg and flowering plants in the same grow room.
  • Light cycles do not need to be changed or monitored.
  • They’re compact, small, and perfect for growers with limited space.
  • Easy to grow, with hardy genetics.
  • CBD levels are typically higher.
  • Plants are less susceptible to mildew and pests due to their genetic makeup.

Disadvantages of Autoflower Cannabis Seeds:

  • This plant has a lower THC level than most photoperiod strains.
  • Difficult to clone — Seeds are the only way to grow autoflowering plants.
  • Plants are usually leafier with fewer buds.
  • Higher price compared to regular seeds.
  • It’s not recommended to prune autoflowering plants as they grow. Autoflowers don’t have enough time to recover from the stress of being pruned. It is recommended to prune feminized plants, though.

If you’re looking to grow cannabis quickly, then you should use autoflower seeds. Strains like Auto Blueberry and Auto Blackberry Kush can be ready in 8-10 weeks after germination. These seedlings are great for indoor and outdoor locations. They can produce multiple crops in a year if grown outdoors. Indoors, they can be grown in soil or in hydroponics with coco fibre.

Good autoflower seeds ensure quality results with little to no variations between the plants. However, in this new era of cannabis, there are still some low-quality seed suppliers out there.

Dutch Passion is an excellent example of a company pushing the frontier of autoflower genetics. They have the experience and expertise necessary to take autoflowers to their maximum potential.

Feminized Cannabis Seeds

In the late 1990s, feminized cannabis seeds were a response to the demand for female-only plants. At first, these seeds produced inconsistent and volatile plants that were rarely hermaphroditic.

Now, feminized seeds have become more popular than regular seeds. They’ve reached a point of consistency as regards value, quality, and taste that makes them far superior to regular seeds. That’s why they’ve become the only type that is readily available in stores.

In most cases, when you’re looking at a seed catalogue and see a feminized category, you are looking at photoperiodic seeds, meaning they rely on the light cycle to start flowering.

Advantages of Feminized Cannabis Seeds:

  • Easy to grow.
  • Exclusively flowering plants (no risk of pollination).
  • Feminized strains are more productive than autoflowering seeds, (whether they are grown indoors or outdoors), and have higher levels of cannabinoids, flavonoids and terpenes, which lead to a more high-quality yield.
  • You don’t have to germinate seeds that you don’t need.
  • You don’t have to worry about separating the male from female.
  • Plants grown from female seeds are uniform and stable.
  • Plant training can be achieved without any concerns of a male.
  • They come from two elite clones most of the time.
  • Cost-effective, as you won’t have to throw away half your male plants.

Disadvantages of Feminized Cannabis Seeds

  • Not good for cloning / reproduction.
  • Poor cannabis seeds sometimes become hermaphrodites because of genetic or environmental factors.
  • Higher price compared to regular seeds

Training and Topping Regular vs Feminised vs Autoflower

To increase yield or cultivate plants in confined spaces, growers often try to manipulate their cannabis plants. One way is by training plants, which can be accomplished by bending them in various directions.

Regular seeds usually do not contain any male DNA, but feminized seeds do. Training techniques like topping, fimming, lollypopping, or defoliation can lead to stress for plants. When weed plants grow from feminized seeds, they run a much bigger chance of growing into hermaphrodites. And that chance is reduced dramatically if you grow weed from regular seeds.

The tips on growing feminized cannabis seeds are endless. Choosing which form of growth to pursue can be an important decision in the process of growing plants. You must decide between a long veg period or early flowering. If you want to produce bushier plants, consider cutting off the growing tip. This will require shorter vertical growth. If you want to fill up a screen with your plants (SCROG), then you may want to go with a long veg period.

Growing autoflowering cannabis seeds is a different story. Autoflowers are genetically programmed to begin their flowering stage at a predetermined date, not based on how you grow it. As such, they don’t respond well to excessive pruning or topping, meaning they can’t recover from being cut back.

However, both autoflower and feminized strains will do well with low-stress training. One such example is keeping branches tied down in order to improve light penetration to lower branches.

CBD rich-seeds

You’ve heard a lot about CBD lately, the trending cannabinoid. CBD typically refers to a cannabis strain that contains higher concentrations of CBD than THC.  It’s present in some marijuana plants and comes with many therapeutic qualities, but is also counteracts the psychoactive effects of THC. For this reason, CBD-rich plants can help people who have insomnia, stress, or a more serious condition like multiple sclerosis, but also enable a sustainable recreational cannabis experience that is compatible with daily activities.

CBD-rich strains are available in both feminized and autoflowering variants.

Advantages of CBD:

  • Reduced psychoactive effect. CBD counteracts the euphoric and side effects of THC by acting as an antagonist.
  • CBD can be beneficial and therapeutic. CBD is a natural component of cannabis, and it binds with our body’s endocannabinoid system to stimulate the body’s natural response to pain, anxiety, stress, and more.
  • Scientific research has shown that CBD can effectively treat many conditions such as nausea, convulsive activity, psychosis, inflammation, neurodegenerative disorders, anxiety and depression.
  • What’s more is that CBD combats the side-effects of THC such as appetite stimulation, heart rate increase, and altered time perception.

Disadvantages of CBD:

  • Not everyone wants to feel the effects of marijuana less intensely. CBD may lead to a significantly reduced psychoactive effect, and for some this is an advantage. But for others, it can simply be an inconvenience.

What should you choose?

There are many different opinions about the comparative advantages of regular, feminized or autoflowering seeds. For example, one man may argue that feminized plants are better because they allow him to keep a more consistent product. However, another person may suggest that autoflowering plants are better because they take less time to grow. The right answer is different for everyone. You should have a clear understanding of your own needs and preferences before deciding which one to buy.

For beginners, we think it should be fairly clear by now that our advice is to get some good-quality feminized seeds in the ground. If you have not yet learned how to identify males from females, don’t worry about it for now, because you still have other things to learn, like how much water, fertilizer, or light you need to feed your plants.

Looking for seeds? Check out Shayana Shop, one of the best retailers to buy from. They offer a large inventory and competitive pricing. Choosing the right cannabis seeds is a delicate process. Research your supplier and make sure they are trustworthy.

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