In today's North American landscape of improving medicinal laws and marijuana access, there is surprising little diversity in your choice of buds. “Any color you like, so long as you like OG Kush” sounds familiar.
The injection of Kush genetics that came crashing through the grow scene like a Tsunami in the early part of the millennium has forever raised the bar in what people look for in bud potency and complexity of bouquet -- especially in North America. OG didn't get this popular without some great characteristics, after all.
The key to the survival for any species is diversity; something that the North American cannabis gene pool is starting to lack. Re-mashes of similar genetics over and over can produce some very nice smoke at harvest, but it will have similar effects for patients, have similar flavors, similar aromas, and can get a little boring.
Biological diversity is also important when it comes to disease outbreaks. Don't believe it? Talk to any landscape/nursery owner: it's anindustry that almost lost it's shirt to plant diseases in the last decade.
If there is no genetic diversity in the pot gene pool, there is a greater possibility that a plant disease will spread quickly, become more persistent, and be difficult to control and eliminate.
More importantly, an increase in cannabis genetic diversity would mean a wider range of possibilities for treating different conditions medicinally with marijuana, as different genetics tend to produce different resin profiles, which in turn treat different symptoms.
So what's the solution for more diversity and possibly a bump in potency for the North American cannabis gene pool?
A healthy injection of pure heritage cannabis strains could be part of the solution. Some old timers may be holding onto valuable genetics that need to be shared with modern cannabis breeders.
The results can be amazing. Recently, a retired Vet forwarded the very last of their Vietnam Black stock to a breeder -- a strain thought be all but extinct in it's pure form. Even though the rollers in the post office crushed most of the seeds, a few VIPs (very important plants) did in fact emerge from this aging seed stock.
When these old-school genetics were crossed with a very modern Kush strain, the results were incredible. The offspring, while still very “Kush” took on unique properties, both in growth and in toke.
A marked increase in vigor meant better production and fewer potential cropping issues. The buds, while still Kush-shaped, took on a silvery blue hue at maturity and developed aromatic properties completely unique to the Vietnam Black lineage, beautifully layered in with that traditional Kush scent.
Medicinal patients have marveled at the depth and staying power of the effects over their garden variety Kush strains. They love the extra kick of mental stimulation they get from the strain. All thanks in part to the re-introduction of diverse and pure land race genetics.
This is just a small example of what's possible, but after seeing the results, it's clear that the cannabis community would benefit from more efforts and breeding projects like this. There's a lot beneath the surface of those genetics that researchers are just starting to understand, but in the end the key to survival in nature is diversity. Get some!