By the early 1980s, the vast majority of commercially produced sinsemilla in North America had likely received some portion of its genetic composition from the indica gene pool, and it had become difficult to find the pre-indica, pure sativa varieties that had been so popular only a few years earlier. There are now very few pure sativas grown in North America and Europe, as they mature late outdoors and require extra time to mature indoors, resulting in higher costs and risks. Many of the indica/sativa hybrids were vigorous growers, matured earlier, yielded well, were very potent, and were easier to conceal due to their shorter stature. 1 (Colombian sativa/Afghan indica x Acapulco Gold Mexican sativa) is a good example of a hybrid expressing predominantly sativa traits, and Northern Lights (Afghan indica/Thai sativa) is a good example of a hybrid expressing predominantly indica traits. Although the influence of indica generally increased steadily throughout the mid-1980s (owing to its delayed introduction in many regions), its popularity in pioneering regions had begun to decline.
Since Cannabis is wind-pollinated and sinsemilla is usually grown in enclosed gardens, accidental pollination often results in many seeds. Accidental seeds are far more common than intentionally produced seeds, and are rapidly and widely distributed in retail sinsemilla. Intentionally produced seeds are usually only passed along from one serious breeder to another or purchased from seed companies, and their distribution is more limited. Accidentally produced seeds containing varying proportions of the introduced indica gene pool were grown and randomly crossed again and again. Such random outcrossing produced a complex hybrid condition such that favorable traits were rarely consistently reproducible. Few of the offspring looked like their siblings, their gene pools having been formed from randomly collected genetic scraps handed down from their assorted predecessors. Over the next few years, the mixed gene pools reassorted, manifesting many undesirable as well as desirable characteristics. Without careful selection and breeding, marijuana begins to turn weedy, and as natural selection takes over, varieties lose their vigor, taste, and potency.
Accidental recombination of complex hybrids brought out some of the less desirable traits of indica that were previously suppressed. Reduced potency; a slow, flat, dreary high; and a skunky, acrid aroma and harsh taste quickly became associated with many indica/sativa hybrids. Also, indica?s dense, tightly packed floral clusters tend to trap moisture, encouraging gray mold, for which it has little native resistance. This often results in significant crop losses that were rarely a problem when only pure sativa varieties were grown. Indica/sativa hybrids are still what the average sinsemilla consumer purchases today. To the sinsemilla connoisseur, indica has not proven to be all it was cracked up to be. Although consumers and commercial growers of the late 1970s adopted indica enthusiastically, serious breeders of the 1980s began to view indica with more skepticism. K2 The average commercial or home grower, however, may express quite a different opinion. Indica?s hardy growth, rapid maturation, and tolerance to cold allowed sinsemilla to be grown outdoors in the northern United States, from Washington to Maine and across southern Canada. This revolutionized the marijuana market by making potent homegrown a reality for those living at northern latitudes, as well as widening the scope and intensity of sinsemilla cultivation. epicenters of the West Coast, Hawaii, and the Ozark mountains into at least twenty major producing states. Some sinsemilla is now grown outdoors in all fifty American states, across southern Canada, and throughout much of Europe. Indica/sativa hybrids have also proven to be well adapted to indoor cultivation. Compact indica/sativa hybrid varieties mature quickly, allowing three to four harvests per year, and yield an average of three to four ounces (one hundred grams) of dry flowers on plants only three feet tall. Sativa varieties are too stretchy and tall, take too long to mature, and the tops of the plants, near the lights, shade the bottom branches, preventing them from producing many flowers. The introduction of indica also had a more subtle, and possibly longer-lasting, effect on sinsemilla breeding. Purple coloration had become a sign of quality and potency in late-maturing sativa cultivars like Purple Haze. The consumer?s thirst for exotic purple sinsemilla created the short-lived ?Purple Craze? Growers discovered that indica varieties would often turn purple if they were left out through a frost. For a year or two, many growers were able to get more money for purple flowers, but early-maturing indica varieties, when left in the field through a frost, lost much of their potency. This abruptly ended the Purple Craze, and enlightened marijuana breeders realized that many traits prove to be desirable only in certain varieties under certain conditions. The conscientious breeder should be extremely selective when experimenting with new introductions. In their search for high-quality genetic stock, connoisseur sinsemilla breeders have returned to some of their original pure sativa varieties. By crossing them into the now highly inbred indica/sativa hybrid varieties, breeders can enhance the hybrid?s flavor and boost its potency. Breeders are continually searching for new sources of exotic seeds.
Pure unhybridized indica varieties are still highly prized breeding material, and new indica introductions are occasionally received from Afghanistan and Pakistan. Sativa varieties from South Africa have recently gained favor with outdoor growers, a s they mature early but don?t suffer from many of the aesthetic drawbacks of indica. Pure South African varieties, originating far south of the equator, often mature in August, but are shorter in stature, moderately potent, and relatively high yielding. Hybrid crosses between indicas and classic indica/sativa hybrid varieties such as Skunk No. 1 are usually vigorous and early maturing and may express the desirable sativa and indica traits of high potency, fine fragrance, and high yield. Prior to 1980, a few breeders also worked with weedy sativa varieties from Central Europe.
Most Western growers call these varieties ?ruderalis.? These weedy varieties begin maturing in July or early August, which hastens the maturity of outdoor hybrid marijuana varieties. Unfortunately, they are almost entirely devoid of THC and are high in CBD.