Plant Selection

Learn about our plant selection process which includes DNA sex testing, early leaf cannabinoid ratio testing, bioassay assessments, etc. to find the best phenotype within a given genotype pool!

Introducing a new cultivar into our product line up consists of a long, metrics based process. We rely on lab results in addition to bioassay assessments to find the best plant possible out of a given seed selection of a particular variety.

Cannabis SeedsIf one were to grow 10 seeds from a typical pack of breeder seeds they would see 10 pretty different variations of the same plant. There could be cannabinoid ration differences, color variations, size differences, leaf structure differences, and different terpene ratios. It all comes down to selecting the favored phenotype within the genotype of a particular variety (strain).

Genotype vs. Phenotype

Genotype PhenotypeAn organism’s genotype is the set of genes (DNA) that it carries. An organism’s phenotype is all of its observable characteristics — which are influenced both by its genotype and by the environment.

In other words, if we have a group of seeds of the same cultivar (strain), they are of the same genotype. However, each seed is going to be a little bit different (phenotype). It is similar to siblings. Seeds from the same cultivar can be thought of as brothers and sisters – we can think of these as being the same genotype, however siblings have differences and they’re not identical twins. These non-identical siblings would be phenotypes.

Selection Method

DNAIn order to find the “best” candidate of a particular variety to move forward with, we start lab testing right from the seedling stage. First, we perform DNA testing with Phylos Bioscience to find out the sex of the plant as we want females for cultivation purposes.

Phylos Bioscience

Once we narrow down the selection to all female plants we grow the plant out for a week or two. Next, we send in samples to San Diego PharmLabs for early leaf cannabinoid ratio testing to get a clearer picture of cannabinoid ratios present within the plant.

SD PharmLabs

Lastly, we use various bioassay assessments and other factors such, trichome production, terpene profiles, and vigor to determine which phenotype we choose to place into production and continue cloning as a mother plant.

Early Leaf Cannabinoid Ratio Detection Testing

Most typically think of only mature cannabis plants as having the resin filled trichomes that Trichomescontain all of the cannabinoids and terpenes, however plants in the young vegetative state still have and produce trichomes even if they aren’t as large or as abundant as plants during the later flowering stage.

Although we cannot determine the total amount of cannabinoids that the plant will produce when it is mature or harvested while in the vegetative phase of growing, we can get Cannabinoidsan idea as to the ratio of cannabinoids such as how much THC compared to CBD, etc. when the plant is very young and the trichomes aren’t as abundant as when it is harvested.

Case Study for a High CBD

One example of using early leaf cannabinoid ratio lab testing was during our latest hunt for a high CBD cultivar. Although most seed breeders advertise particular varieties as a 15:1 (or THC_CBDhigher) CBD to THC ratio, our experience is that this is happens in about 1 in 20 seeds that advertise as being a “high CBD” cultivar.

The cultivar we used in our most recent high CBD cultivar hunt was Harle-Tsu from the Southern Humboldt Seed Collective. After performing the DNA sex testing, we ended up with four female candidates for early leaf cannabinoid ratio lab testing. These four candidates were named HS 12, HS 13, HS 14, and HS 15.

Cannabinoid Ratio Test Results

After receiving the results, we discovered that candidate HS 13 had the best CBD:THC ratio that we were looking for, a THC level of 0.4% and a CBD level of 0.58%. SC Labs

After the plant was harvested, it was then tested again by SC Labs for cannabinoid and terpene profiles. The results can be seen here.

The final cannabinoid profile test results after harvest came in with a CBD level of 13.19% and a THC level of 0.64%.


This meant we finally found a true 20:1 CBD to THC ratio cultivar!

Although this case study was centered on our hunt for a high CBD ratio cultivar, we use this same technique of early leaf cannabinoid ratio lab testing as a tool and data point (along with other factors) when selecting different cultivars that end up in our product line up to find the best phenotype possible out of a pool of given genotypes.