Behind the name: Hemp, Genotypes & Phenotypes
Where do the names of cannabis plants come from? This is a great question and one we here at hemp hop feel needs more information on the internet.
A hemp plant, and any organism for that matter, are comprised of two things: genetic code and enviroment. To understand fully the genetics and profile of the cannabis strain you are consuming, we must take a look at some basic biology terms.
First there's a gene, this gene is a section of DNA that encodes a trait. Within a gene is a specific arrangement of nucleotides that can vary between copies of the same gene. These variations are called alleles. An organism will either inherit two copies of the same allele or one copy of two different alleles. This combination of alleles is known as the plants genotype. An example of a genotype within a human would be hair color, eye color, shoe size, height, etc.
Then there's a phenotype. This is basically the features of a particular gene that were not inherited. While a phenotype is influenced by a genotype, it is mostly caused by epigenetic modifications and/or enviromental factors. Those enviromental factors could include temperature, stress, nutrition and humidity. For example, on a hemp farm you will typically have different strains in different sections of the field and those sections can be large. One section of a strain could be receiving different enviromental elements than another section of the same strain. This will cause different phenotypes that will influence a variety of factors like terpene profile, cannabinoid content and physical appearance.
In hemp 98%+ of varieties are grown from seed and all plants grown from the seed will have the same genotype. The Genotypes that we are all familiar with are Lifter, Sour Space Candy, Special Sauce, & more. When growing from seed, you will have phenotype "family members" of the strain appear. On the farm or here at hemp hop, those family members are carefully selected, sorted and then given their own identity when worthy. This is done in strict accordance with the terpene profile, effects, cannabinoid content and appearance.
So let's look at some of our strains for example. The Wedding Cake's original genotype is Lifter, with it's Phenotype being Wedding Cake based off of a recognizable effect and cannabinoid content of high CBG. To demonstrate the vast differences between phenotypes, the phenotype Blue Dream is also genetically a Lifter. However, it has a completely different terpene profile, cannabinoid profile and bud structure. In the case of the Blueberry Pie, Amnesia Haze, & Chemdawg, those are the actual Genotypes. Those were high thc strains bred with a cbd mother. Because these Genotypes are new, they experience a lot of difficulty, instability, and risk when growing them until they are bred enough to stabilize. For instance, only 15% of Blueberry Pie goes towards packaged flower, the rest are filtered towards “smalls” because the majority of buds from that genotype are absolutely tiny.
Genotypes and phenotypes play an important role in the nomenclature of cannabis plants. This can be some complicated stuff and we at hemp hop are excited to be able to educate people on what they are consuming. That being said, should you have any questions or would like more information, do not hesitate to reach out. We’re always here to help!