25% THC & Beyond, A Glimpse Inside the Breeding Room, By Tony – Dutch Passion

When good genetics are married with an optimised grow room and experienced grower it isn’t unusual to see THC levels exceed ²0% on a regular basis. But over ²5% THC, from an auto-flower? This was new territory for the Dutch Passion genetic specialists and an indication of just how far auto-flower genetics have come.

Much of the typical homegrown cannabis is around 15% THC and it usually satisfies the bulk of us, especially if it has been well cured with a good terpene profile. THC levels around 20% are often achieved by the more serious enthusiasts who are able to combine a passion for their hobby with good practical experience and an optimized grow room perhaps with LED. 20% THC represents great quality weed. Relatively little of the cannabis available to us is over 25% THC. Despite what you may read online, it’s tricky getting the genetics, nutrients, lighting and environment at near perfect conditions and keeping it that way all the way through to harvest. Or at least, it used to be.

The Auto Cinderella Jack lab result was the first time the Dutch Passion team had seen an auto strain exceed 25% THC. It shows how quickly the best auto strains have evolved. What’s really interesting is that autos are just so simple to grow. Many new and inexperienced growers prefer the robustness of autos and the easy growing experience. This 25% THC result opens up connoisseur

potency to growers of all experience levels. The 25% THC auto was grown simply and organically under 20 hours of daily light from seed to harvest in a 4:1 (coco:light mix) blend with BioTabs nutrients and an LED light. Hobby growers will be pleased to see that it didn’t require a more complicated and demanding grow method, such as deep water culture.

The 25% THC level came from a plant grown under a quality modern LED. Many of the more serious growers have found that ditching the ageing HPS tech for a quality LED fixture allows them to reach new quality and potency levels. A quick look to some of the USA’s most successful legal cannabis growers confirms that the professionals trust LED for the highest quality crops. The optimized light spectrum produces superior results and enhanced cannabinoid and THC levels. In addition, heat stress (a major factor which decreases crop potency) is reduced/eliminated with LED. If you can take the financial pain of the LED upgrade your harvests will receive a permanent quality improvement.

Breeding for THC and nothing else

The breeding for Auto Cinderella Jack used a different methodology to that often used by cannabis geneticists. Often, breeders may aim for a ‘good enough’ THC level of around 15-20%. That’s strong enough for most people who would regard such THC levels as strong/very strong. Often the parents chosen for seed production are selected from many individuals. Important factors are aroma, yield, taste, disease/pest resistance etc. With Auto Cinderella Jack the geneticists took a different approach.

The breeding process was defined only by keeping and breeding the individuals with the highest levels of THC. The assumption made was that other considerations such as yield, taste etc. would turn out OK anyway.

So the breeding began. Parent varieties were selectively bred based on THC levels and nothing else. Parent genetics came from Cinderella 99 and Jack Herer. These were crossed with Magnum auto and the process of selective breeding began. At each stage of breeding, all plants were THC tested. Only the best performers were selected for crossing, the remaining plants were discarded even those that yielded heavily or produced wonderful aromas.

Ruthless breeding it may be, but the results showed the THC levels were consistently over 20% and occasionally peaking at around (or just above) 25%. That’s at the high end, even for a feminized (non-auto) strain. The nice thing about these THC levels is that many people find that autos are easier, faster and perhaps a little more convenient for some growers. This means that buds with 20-25% THC are within easy reach of most self-sufficient cannabis growers.

Without lab analysis and professional scale breeding it’s just about impossible to achieve such consistently good results. If you are serious about your cannabis breeding, you need to use an independent lab to measure the cannabinoid and terpene levels. At Dutch Passion two independent laboratories are used for sample analysis. This ensures double blind tests are done, improving accuracy of the breeding data significantly.

Although this is quite expensive, one benefit is that the timescale required to breed a stable new variety can actually be shortened. This is because genetic lines that don’t produce the required results are clearly identified and removed from the breeding program. It’s selective breeding with high-tech back up supporting highly experienced cannabis breeders. The results are professional quality seeds which can be used to obtain high-end results, even if you don’t yet have the experience of a high-end grower.

If the 25% THC results from the latest autos sounds reassuring for home growers, then rest assured that the best seed banks are taking cannabis breeding more seriously than ever. And they are doing so with highly experienced genetic specialists who are backed up by better scientific support than ever before. Combine this with some of the elite genetics coming out of North America and the future looks very bright indeed for the quality focused home grower. There’s much more to come from Dutch Passion!

Written and published By Tony, Dutch Passion In Weed World Magazine Issue 146

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