• U Cann Grow

Phenotype Hunting: What To Look For

What are Phenotypes?

Have you ever questioned why the same marijuana strain can be subtly different based on the location it is purchased? A gram of OG Kush from one grower who sells to a particular dispensary would be subtly different from another grower's OG Kush sold at a different dispensary. While they are the same strain, they exhibit different phenotypes, a collection of identifiable characteristics arising from the interaction of the genotype with the environment.

Phenotype is the term used to distinguish the observable characteristics or traits of the plant. From the physical form and structure, to its growth processes and medicinal properties, it can all be directly linked to the phenotype.

Whenever a grower chooses to develop a specific strain, they usually get a packet of seeds from a breeder, each with a different phenotype of this same strain. After growing each seed, the grower selects the best one for its characteristics, for yield, bud density, scent, taste, potency, color, and several other qualities to then further develop.

Terpene Content

Terpenoids are a constituent of cannabis made up of volatile organic compounds, which produce various biological effects.

There is an estimated 20,000 unique terpenes, and the cannabis plant has over 100 of these. Many terpenes formed by a cannabis plant are often present elsewhere in nature. However, there are a few terpenes that are present in high concentrations in cannabis plants. These non-cannabinoid plant components have been found to act synergistically with THC to influence the overall psychoactive effects of cannabis - this proposed mechanism is known as the entourage effect.

How Do You Tell The Difference?

The scent of a plant is a good indicator of its terpene content. For example, limonene, which is the second most common terpene present in cannabis, is responsible for citrus's fragrance.

A spicy, woody, peppery scent is attributed to the terpene Caryophyllene. Cannabinoid Content Over 113 different cannabinoids have been identified from the herb in marijuana. The most researched cannabinoids are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabinol (CBN).

Many potent strains have varying hue colors, rendering visual verification of quality impractical.

Therefore, it's hard to identify the quality of certain strains by color alone. Most cannabis consumers adhere to strains that exhibit a green or purple color as these phenotypes are markers of fresh marijuana that are potent in CBD or THC. Cannabis buds with a brownish tint and a crusty stem are usually of low quality. This is not the case in all parts of the world. In Asia, some strains have a brownish tint but are incredibly potent. Another indicator of high cannabinoid content is dense trichomes, which are crystal-like formations in the outer bud. Trichomes are glandular, non-glandular appendages located on the plants' surface and are responsible for the production of cannabinoids and terpenes.

Nutrient Needs

Cannabis plants are very receptive to nutrients, and there is a thin line between correctly feeding the plants and destroying them with chemicals. All the nutrients required for the growth of cannabis plants are naturally present in the environment. However, to make your plants grow faster and yield a healthier result, you'll want to feed them with concentrated nutrients via fertilizer. Cannabis plants need three critical nutrients for proper nutrition, those of which are the macronutrients nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K). In addition to these three nutrients, plant growth also depends on secondary nutrients such as calcium, magnesium and sulphur. Further than this, plants often use various other nutrients in limited amounts known as micronutrients such as boron, chlorine, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum, and zinc.


There are many types of phenotypes and vast ways in which they express themselves. Its up to both the grower and the environment they provide to help maximize the expression of each, while evolving the plant uniquely. Not only does understanding this art offers us a wider variety of product but also ensures the consist growth and development of this amazing medicine that is revolutionizing the health industry.

Want to be a Craft Cannabis Producer? Call us at 1-(289)-969-9437 or send us a message.