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Here at Spliff Seeds feminised cannabis seeds are our bread and butter and we sell thousands of them every year. Ever since feminised cannabis seed technology has become available we’ve been selling a lot more feminised seeds than regular ones. Feminised cannabis seeds are immensely popular because they save the average home grower a lot of time and effort. With the cannabis industry evolving rapidly however, will new technology replace the need for feminised cannabis seeds?
Have a look at this video:

Phylos Bioscience is an American company that provides a specialized protocol for determining the sex of a cannabis plant at a very early age. By simply tearing off a cotyledon (one of those two small first leaves) and smearing it out over a card, the technicians at Phylos Bioscience can determine the sex of your cannabis seedling in only two days. This is ridiculously fast when compared to the “old-school” way, in which plants are grown until they show their sex after 3-6 weeks. The way sample collection is set up for the sex test kit barely requires specialized equipment and is virtually idiot-proof.

Breeders Don’t Cross With Feminised Cannabis Seeds

A lot of breeders, ourselves included, prefer working with regular seeds as breeding with feminized seeds can lead to inbreeding depression and negatively affect the subsequent crop. This is not really a factor when growing for buds, but once you’re creating and stabilizing a new strain to produce seeds, breeding with regular cannabis seeds has some worthwhile benefits.

Breeding this way involves a lot of time, clones and mother plants. The ladies and gents at Phylos Bioscience (and other comparable companies) have taken it upon themselves to dramatically reduce the time spent on sexing cannabis plants on a commercial scale. With their kits, the sex of a young cannabis plant can be determined within a few days after germination, rather than a few months.

Producing feminised cannabis seeds starts with a good pheno hunt
In this photo you see an entire commercial scale grow room dedicated to pheno hunting. In this beautiful facility that is operated by the JungleBoys (@JungleBoys on instagram), new strains are produced at a dazzling pace.

Applications For Early Sex Determination

Early sex determination techniques like the one Phylos Bioscience provides are a bit excessive for a small scale grower, but can be solid gold for breeders. A good pheno hunting project is often performed on an enormous scale, using (tens of) thousands of plants to find the very best one. To give you an idea the grow room in the picture above might seem huge, but this is about the scale that is required for a proper pheno hunt! Growing this many plants only to discard half of them once they show sex isn’t nearly as efficient as finding out the sex early on. Generating feminised cannabis seeds at such a scale is also a costly and arduous enterprise that will usually not deliver the same results as using regular seeds.

Now that it is possible to determine the gender of several thousand cannabis plants as early as a few days after germination do we still need feminised cannabis seeds? We might be a bit biased, but even with all this new technology coming out the average home grower will still use feminised cannabis seeds for the majority of their grows. For breeders however, new strains (of feminised cannabis seeds?) can be developed at a much faster pace.