Cannabis Science- Phenotypes

by Veronica Castillo

Cannabis Phenotype, the visual characteristics of plant Cannabis; the height, shape, appearance, and aroma of the plant. Phenotypes are physical expressions that the environment pulls from them and that create the visual characteristics. 

And since I mentioned aroma- let’s touch on terpenes. Terpenes are the aromatic compounds that give cannabis different scents. They contribute to the medicinal benefits of Cannabis, are dynamic and boost the effects of each strain by influencing CBD, THC, and other cannabinoids. 


Cannabis Phenotype

Here’s some science. The environment pulls the plant’s physical traits from its genetic code. It’s the reason that Blue Dream can be different in Oregon, than in WA. Plants of the same strain, can end up providing different effects. Different environments and different growers, create their own unique physicality for each Cannabis plant. 

Cannabis seed company, Royal Queen Seeds says: “the interaction between genotype and environment- results in a phenotype: genotype (G) + environment (E) + genotype and environment interactions (GE) = phenotype (P)”.

Leafly says: “Cannabis phenotypes have different traits from one or both of their parent strains.

Phenotypes (please link this piece), the reason that someone can get Blue Dream from California, from two different growers, and have two different highs. The reason why it looks one way in WA and a different way in Colorado. 

Bonus- Cannabis Genetics Terms 

Gene: sequence of DNA that codes for a specific trait in the cannabis plant.

Allele: variation of a single gene.

Heirloom: Cannabis strains that were historically planted and harvested in crops cultivated by humans- opposite of landrace. 

F1 Generation: plants born from a breed of two plants with different genotypes.

Polyhybrids: a crossbreed of 2 hybrid Cannabis plants with precise genotypes.

Backcross: the offspring of a hybrid strain that has been bred with the original parent plant.

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