The history of the humble marijuana seed begins with landrace strains. Adapted to survive in the specific environmental conditions of their native lands, these pure varieties birthed a horticultural quest to explore and develop all of the multifaceted dimensions of our favorite flower. This quest – initially driven by seed breeders in Holland – has now resulted in a plethora of strains, each boasting individual combinations of the more than 80 known cannabinoids.
Like cannabis itself, cannabis breeders have shown incredible adaptability and resilience. When forced indoors at the start of America’s War on Drugs in the 1960s, these highly-skilled growers adopted new ways to grow the plant inside using artificial light sources. In an effort to crossbreed new varieties, cannabis breeders and growers are in a constant state of experimentation, forever adjusting to shorten growing periods and increase potency and yields.
As marijuana continues to be legalized and decriminalized around the world, becoming a home gardener is a hobby that’s available to more and more people each day – and the cannabis seed marketplace is truly a global commodity. If you’re interested in growing your own supply, here are 10 seed companies we believe stand above the rest.
Archive Seed Bank
The principal breeder behind Archive Seed Bank goes by the moniker “ThaDocta” and has gained a sizable following of cultivators dedicated to his consistent genetics and powerhouse strains. Archive’s palette is wide-reaching, being known for bringing the fire with skull-crushing offerings like Face Off OG BX2, as well as the tasty cotton candy sweetness of Humboldt favorite Bazooka JoeG. One of their latest creations, Do-Si-Dos, blends the Cookies heritage with Face Off resulting in a strain widely beloved by cultivators and recognized as a stable, reliable specimen for indoor grows.
This Mendocino, California-based seed company has the art of boutique cannabis on lock. With elevated packaging and a high-selling price, these seeds are bringing about an elevated reverence around cannabis breeding. Borrowing from the winery model, Aficionado releases a new line of signature strains each year. And they have the chops to backup the hype – breeder Mean Gene has taken home top honors at the Emerald Cup for multiple years.
This is an excerpt from the print edition of Cannabis Now Magazine, issue 20. Subscribe to Cannabis Now today and get 50% off.
Greenhouse Seed Company
We’re betting you’ve already sampled their Super Lemon Haze, a buzzy citrus strain that’s almost always a sure bet towards energetic highs. Based in Holland, Greenhouse Seed Company is legendary in the cannabis seed game and their list of accolades is as dense as many of the buds grown from the offerings of their seed catalog. Follow the adventures of Green House’s own Strainhunters, as they scour the globe on a hunt for landrace genetics.
If ever there was a reputable cannabis seed provider, Sensi Seed Bank is it. For three decades these Dutch breeders have dominated cannabis cup scenes worldwide and consistently offered reliable genetics of some of the top classics – Jack Herer, White Widow and Northern Lights #5 X Haze. The latter strain, created by Nevil Schoenmakers – founder of The Seed Bank which was the predecessor to Sensi Seeds – is universally accepted as marking a high point in cannabis breeding. The phenomenal cross is said to have led to many of the medicinal strains that are on offer today. Given the stamp of approval by esteemed cannabis advocate and Harvard professor Dr. Lester Grinspoon, he has said that Sensi founder Ben Dronkers’ important work in cannabis seed breeding has preserved DNA from medicine that might have otherwise disappeared from the face of the Earth.
This seed company is headed by California cannabis power couple Subcool and MzJill and has blessed the world with strains such as Jilly Bean and Vortex. Truly dedicated to the craft of medicinal cannabis for health and wellness, TGA strains grown by musicians and cultivators Mendo Dope are some of the dankest we’ve ever laid eyes upon. The TGA website states, “if you’re tired of scantily clad women in ads trying to sell medicine and exaggerated claims, check out what other growers are saying about TGA genetics and consider trying some of our organically produced medical cannabis seeds.”
With their origins in California cultivation, Amsterdam-based DNA Genetics picked up in 2003 and moved from the U.S. to the more cannabis friendly environment of The Netherlands. They have since consistently produced strains that have been steady cannabis event winners. Their LA Confidential – a 100 percent indica and bigtime crowd pleaser – is part old-school Afghan crossed with OG LA Affie and should not be missed. A solid heritage of cannabis growing combined with obvious attention to detail make this seed company a good source for accurate, dependable genetics.
Karma, the founder of Karma Genetics, has enjoyed the widespread respect of cannabis growers the world over for his consistency in producing seeds that have unmatched vigor and high success rates. When you come in contact with a cultivator who’s invested in Karma seeds – particularly in the realm of Kush varieties – prepare yourself for an evangelical experience that rivals a Tennessee preacher. And with good reason, as Karma is a true artist. His White OG V2.0 has been sweeping cannabis cups across Europe for the past couple years and his Biker Kush is said to be one of the finest and most intoxicating varieties available in seed form.
MTG seed breeder Django has helped to produce some of the best medicine available, including high-powered CBD creations like the popular CBDiesel. Hailing from California, the seed breeders start with their superior, battle-tested genetics from NorCal and travel the world in search of the best heirloom and landrace strains available to create unique crosses. Specifically breeding for plants with immunity to mold and the ability to produce high yields, their approach is that cannabis is medicine, and with that in mind they seek to develop varieties to help alleviate particular ailments.
Cornering the cheese market, Big Buddha has the fromage locked down from their renown Chiesel to Cheesus to their eponymous Big Buddha Cheese that last originated in the U.K. and is a variety that has long been a favorite of indoor growers across Britain. Their latest offering, Cheese X Cheese Reversed, is self-touted as the “world’s greatest, purest cheese seed ever created, probably the best cheese seed in the universe.” If you’re looking for a big mega mouthful of cheesy goodness, look no further than Big Buddha.
Bodhi Seeds Company
Bodhi are the Banksy of cannabis seed breeders. While their revered and artful seeds are easy to find online – much like Banksy’s street art can be seen all over the world at different times – the actual breeder is a bit of a mystery. Producing some of the most sought after cannabis genetics on planet Earth, Bodhi is said to be a family run business that uses organic methods and sources exotic landrace strains to create many of their crosses. Some of their standouts include Dank Sinatra and Jabba’s Stash. For hash lovers, their Northern Lights #5 X Talk of Kabul is known to make excellent hash from trimming. One thing is sure, if you buy Bodhi, you’re not getting run-of-the-mill.
BC Bud Depot
This Canadian seed breeder produces an extensive and varied list of strains ranging from their signature BC God Bud to Amnesia Haze to winners like Heavy Duty Fruity. With discreet, worldwide delivery, BC Bud Depot develops award-winning cannabis seeds and offers an extensive marijuana seed bank for all tastes.
Crop King Seeds
If you visit many websites for cannabis journalism (may we suggest cannabisnow.com) you’re sure to come upon advertisements for this Canadian seed company. Crop King Seeds supports marijuana legalization and free speech across the board and will discreetly mail seeds to select locations around the world. Their offerings include Candy Cane, an autoflowering plant (a strain that switches from its vegetative to flowering stage automatically versus those that need timed shifts of light and darkness) and feminized hybrid (a seed bred to include no male chromosomes) and Morpheus, a sativa designed for indoor grows.