Choosing the Right Cannabis Genetics: 7 Essential Tips for Successful Cultivation

Kenny Hall
March 14, 2024

Over the past few decades, the cannabis market has exploded across the US. With more states legalizing cannabis cultivation and sale, breeders have gone wild in the pursuit of new strains. Today, there are more than 700 strains of cannabis for buyers and sellers to choose from.

With that much variety, it’s important to know that the strains you’re selling are up to snuff with your customers’ expectations. It’s a buyer’s market these days so cutting corners with sub-par strains just won’t cut it anymore. While there’s no “best” strain, there are ways to make sure that you (and your customers) are getting the best, most consistent products.

What Are Cannabis Genetics?

While all cannabis is technically the same plant, there are significant differences from one strain to the next that affect things like plant size and yield, THC content, flavor, and even physical and psychological effects on the user. Broadly speaking, all cannabis strains can be sorted into either Indica or Sativa.

Cannabis Indica plants typically grow shorter and bushier, making them a popular choice for many indoor growers. These strains tend to produce a calming and relaxing effect on the user, creating a deep “stoned” effect. If you just want to chill on the couch watching a movie on a rainy day, look for an Indica.

Cannabis Sativa, on the other hand, is more common with outdoor growers as these plants tend to grow tall and lanky, with some strains reaching more than 3 meters in height. The effects of Sativas are equally elevating, with many producing an uplifting, giggly “high” that is ideal for a social event or a good concert.

Today, most strains are a hybrid of the two with “pure” Indicas or Sativas being somewhat rarer. This allows growers to get the best of both worlds and pick a strain that is suited to their setup.

A bunch of cannabis sativa plants, which are known to be tall cannabis strains, growing outside.

The Importance of Genetics in Cannabis Cultivation

Sourcing quality genetics for cannabis cultivation is essential for long-term success. Customers know what they want, and if you can’t consistently deliver it to them, they’ll find someone who can. Beyond customer satisfaction, though, the right genetics can massively help with things like quality control in your cannabis business.

7 Tips for Choosing the Right Cannabis Genetics

While the idea of scanning hundreds of different strains for the perfect match might sound daunting, there are a few things that you can keep in mind to help streamline the whole process.

1. Know Your Market

When people say “the customer is always right,” they don’t mean that you should let some rude guy use an expired coupon. What they really mean is that if all of your customers are asking for a high-CBD Sativa strain, then you should probably be selling one.

Look at what’s selling well and what isn’t. Conduct some basic market research. Even just asking your customers what they’d like to see is a great idea. In short, when someone tells you what they want, listen.

2. Research Desired Characteristics

Now that you know what you’re looking for, it’s time to do a little extra research into what’s on offer. Are you looking for more medicinal strains (typically lower THC levels and more pronounced physiological effects), or is your customer base a bit more active (looking more for high-THC Sativas)?

It’s also worth looking at what strains will match your environment. By selecting strains that are suited to your grow setup, you can reduce waste and minimize the risk of mold or fungal infestations. Remember, it’s always best to pick strains that fit your space. Don’t just try to squeeze plants where they don’t want to be.

Luckily, most seed banks have detailed information on things like plant size, time to harvest, and what techniques work best for maximizing yields. If your setup is only suited for a Sea of Green, then you’ll want to avoid taller slow-flowering strains, for example.

3. Assess Breeder Reputation

Not all breeders are equal, and it’s usually worth investing in a brand with a known reputation. While you’ll likely be able to save some money by buying from an “unknown” breeder, you’re taking a real gamble. The major players in the industry have earned their reputations from decades of work, and if you buy seeds labeled “Northern Lights,” you can be pretty sure that’s what you’ll get.

While getting the wrong genetics might sound like a minor issue, it can have huge ramifications. If you’re expecting an entire harvest to take 10 weeks, but the strain you have is going to take 14, then you’ve slowed down everything by a month, and that can have serious consequences.

4. Consider Legal and Regulatory Factors

This might sound obvious, but it’s always worth a mention. Many jurisdictions have limits on how many plants can be grown or even how potent these plants can be. If you’re limited to a select number of plants, then it’s very much worth growing them as large as possible.

If you have the vertical space, many Sativa strains are great for maximizing per-plant yields. Alternatively, shorter Indicas can be grown into absolute monsters via techniques like mainlining or Screen of Green growing. No matter what kind of space you have, though, several emerging technologies can help any grower get the most out of their setup.

5. Explore Strain Lineage and Terpene Profiles

While THC and CBD might be the stars of the show, appreciation for terpenes has grown considerably as consumers develop more refined tastes. Every plant contains terpenes, and these form the base for a plant’s distinctive taste and aroma, and cannabis is no different.

Different terpenes create different flavor profiles. For example, pinene gives strains a distinct piney flavor, while myrcene leads to a fruitier taste. These terpene profiles are passed along in a plant’s genetics, meaning that any of the strains from the Afghan lineage will have high levels of terpinolene with hints of myrcene, meaning that these will all likely have a rather fruity flavor.

6. Consult with Cannabis Genetics Experts and Peers

Nothing beats first-hand knowledge, and you’ll find that many growers are more than happy to share their experiences. If you’re curious about a strain, ask around. There is no shortage of experts and consultants out there who can point you in the right direction. 

A group of four cannabis genetics experts sitting to discuss how to create the perfect strain.

7. Experiment and Adapt

Don’t be afraid to try new things. While it’s always a bit of a risk, the rewards are often worth it. If you’ve already got the space and time, then why not try a few seeds of that new strain you’ve heard about? In the worst-case scenario, you’ll still get a full plant out of it.

Our industry is changing rapidly, and those growers who refuse to adapt are at risk of being left behind.

Wrapping It Up

By taking the time to do the proper research, you can give yourself a massive headstart on your next grow. Through embracing new technologies and trends, and consulting with industry insiders, finding the perfect strain can be a quick and easy process. By making sure that you’ve got quality, reliable genetics, you can focus on the more important parts of running your business. Reach out to book a free demo to learn how we can help you manage your team and get the most out of your enterprise.

Table of content

March 2024


Want to learn more about dispensary software management?

Meet the cannabis dispensary software that will save you time and money



per week



to run payroll


saved yearly

Hear what our customers have to say

“KayaPush has it all in one platform where you can kind of build what you need. Especially as a start-up, that’s important to us to be cost-friendly. You have the best price for what you’re offering. ”

-Marry Ann from Riverside Wellness-

Easiest to Use
Spring 2022
High Performer
Spring 2022
Best Usability
Spring 2022
Easiest Setup
Spring 2022
Trusted Vendor
Quality Choice

Easily and quickly scale your dispensary with the all-in-one solution

Get a Demo Call!

You Might Also Like

Screen of Green: Maximizing Your Per Plant Yield

Find Out More

From Seed to Sale: 7 Best Cannabis Quality Control Practices

Find Out More

Modern Cannabis Cultivation Technologies: 7 Innovations Revolutionizing the Industry

Find Out More