cannabis farm
flower bud of cannabis satival in the greenhouse

Today we want to talk about the cannabis breeders who we think you should know about. 

'But what's a breeder,' you ask, and 'I'm already bored!' Well, you shouldn't be. 

You know where all those cool strains you're trying to collect like Pokemon cards came from? That's right: breeders. So what does a seed breeder do, exactly? 

We shall impart our basic understanding of the magic these beings wield upon Nature and all her petty laws that were clearly intended for lesser minds.

A History of Cannabis Seed Breeders

In the beginning, there were landrace strains, the regional cannabis plants that won their Darwinian right to survival on the pyres of their peers. 

Cannabis seed breeders took these different landraces and fused them together like Yu-gi-oh monsters by grafting the male plant's pollen on to the female's yearning...oh, what? You don't like that? Be glad, you could have gotten quivering.

Shall I go on or are you gonna interrupt me constantly?

So anyway, that's how the modern cannabis crosses came about, even the G13 that the CIA developed for their MK Ultra mind-control program. And if you don't believe me, that just means their neural inhibitors are working, man. 

Right, then breeders crossed, reverse-crossed, interbred, began polyamorous collectives, everything you can think of, eventually giving rise to to the proliferation of strains we have in dispensaries today. Once the breeder has identified the perfect plant, a process called pheno-hunting, that plant becomes The Mother Plant, duh duh duuuuh. Cuttings (a.k.a. clones) can be produced from mommy dearest in a matter of weeks or months, but stabilizing seed genetics for consistent grow results can take years. Years? I can barely wait until Friday to get my hands on some sticky icky, so let's leave all that breeding work to the professionals. Speaking of! Here's several breeders whose work the Gentleman is stoked to smoke:

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Bodhi Seeds


Whether it be OGs or up-and-comers, home growers or commercial producers, Americans or Dutch, there’s not many breeders more universally esteemed than Bodhi Seeds.

Part of the reason is simple- they’ve traveled the world to experience it all, and their offerings bring together landrace, heirloom, and modern elites into a long list of unique strains. Their international presence and dedication to legacy culture means that operations remain somewhat mysterious and they only offer regular seeds, but they’ve always been committed to the use of organic methods.

Both the @bodhiseeds and @bodhiguide Instagram accounts function as a strain catalog, and although it’s a little overwhelming at first, many of the choices are simply different siblings from their favorite parents. One can turn to their extremely colorful descriptions to sort out the differences, but availability can be sparse and in order to avoid disappointment (where do I get the psychedelic pineapple mind cheetos, dammit!?) the best bet might be to check what’s in stock first. Personally, I’d consider the Endor Score or the Wonder Wookie to get my hands on the Apollo 11 and William’s Wonder lineage, respectively. Both are currently available at Great Lakes Genetics alongside a large collection of other Bodhi gear.

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Freeborn Selections Cannabis Seed Breeders


Mean Gene grew up in Mendocino County, California and started landscaping (that’s how locals refer to growing weed) with his parents at the age of six.

You’ll still find him there, shaded from the Mendocino sun by his organically grown 15+ foot plants, holding their fruits under his nose with intense scrutiny. He specializes in accenting the traditional aromatics with soda pop smells and flavors that dazzle the senses before sending mind and body into the stratosphere.

Some of Mean Gene’s work is released under Freeborn Selections, but in the end he’s a breeder’s breeder and flagship projects like his Root Beer aren’t publicly available, so you’ll have to settle for hybrid releases from the cannabis breeders he’s entrusted to showcase his work. Keep your eyes out for Black Lime, Grape Soda Skunk, Cherry Limeade, and Lime 1 crosses and we’ll let you know when Root Beer crosses are available in seed form.

For now, check out Speakeasy Seedbank’s new batch of the bestselling Sky Jaro x Ghost OG! They just came out and might not last much longer at that price!

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Gnome Automatics Marijuana Breeders


Who says autoflowers don’t yield fat, potent, boutique-quality buds? They’ve been around since 2003 but were only accepted in recent years due to the vision of breeders like Full Duplex, founder of Gnome Automatics and The AutoFlower Network online forums.

He’s been working exclusively with autoflowering strains to improve their effects and aesthetics since 2009, and while his offerings are limited in number, they’ve all been stabilized and tested over an unusually high number of generations to ensure uniformity and resilience.

You can see the process at @Fullduplex_afn and @gnome_automatics on Instagram but you’ll find all the details, and an amazingly supportive community, at the AutoFlower Network. Trials are done indoors under LEDs and in small greenhouses using bagged soil and he’s finally started to produce feminized seeds which means home growers can enjoy premium, smokable buds with low plant counts and no light-leak blues!

His newest release of regular seeds is the uplifting Bobby’s Widow, but for the more adventurous or medicinally-oriented, JEM produces about 3% CBG (a first for autoflowers). His feminized offerings are the sedating Anvil and the more balanced Black Strap. You can find most of these in stock at Seed Cellar.

Cannabis Breeders You Should Know About

Riot Seed Co


Founder Matthew Riot calls Riot Seed Co the first and only punk rock seed company, and from what we’ve gathered, that means you’re either gonna love him or hate him. He’s not shy about calling it how he sees it and trash talking people’s names, or even looking for a fist fight from time to time. There’s no doubt that’s left him in the bad graces of many, but it’s hard to question his love for the plant and the work that he does, not to mention his knowledge of strain history.

He’s got an encyclopedic level of knowledge when it comes to the who’s who and what’s what of just about any genetics, new or old. He’s been taking to social media and appearing on podcasts for years, but he recently started the Breeder’s Syndicate podcast with Notsodog, another strain guru who’s known for his extensive library of authentic clones.

As for as his signature strains, he’s a huge fan of Blueberry terps and old school elite strains, but you’ll find Zkittlez, Gelato, and modern hype strains in the mix as well. His newest releases include work on Northern Lights seeds from the Seattle legend Greg McAllister, as well as feminized hybrids of classics like Blue Dream x Trainwreck. He’s just updated the Riot Seed Co website but you can also find his gear at Speakeasy Seedbank. If you like learning about strain history, don’t miss out on the Breeder’s Syndicate podcast!

Cannabis Breeders You Should Know About

CSI: Humboldt


There’s no shortage of breeders in California’s Humboldt county, but Nspecta of CSI: Humboldt is truly the real deal. He’s a third generation cannabis farmer whose family has grown everything from “the original, pure, landrace strains” to the latest poly hybrids like Runtz and Purple Punch. To keep track of his massive strain catalog, Nspecta is known as one of the most meticulous breeders when it comes to recording data, and he’s said that he has millions of pictures in his archive.

Among the sea of Emerald Triangle breeders, CSI: Humboldt is unique because they focus on reversing clone-only strains into S1 seed lines which they sell to the public at very modest prices. There aren’t many breeders willing to do that due to the risk- attempts at reversing strains like Triangle Kush take up valuable space and often yield little to no viable seeds. As far as we know, he’s the only breeder to successfully reverse Triangle Kush and produce S1 seeds. 

In addition to the wide assortment of S1s, you’ll find F1 hybrids of elite clone only strains, that include hard-to-find strains like Bubblegum, Obama Kush, and Trinity. Just like the S1s, their prices are very reasonable and you’ll find they sell out fairly quickly. Most of this collection can be found here at their site, but you can also find their work at Speakeasy Seedbank. You can also get a peek at some of his strain photos through the growing Speakeasy Showcase.

Cannabis Breeders You Should Know About

Tonygreen's Tortured Beans


Due to the lack of medical laws, East Coast breeders have a hard time publicizing their work to get national recognition. Many have transplanted their business westward, but not Tonygreen’s Tortured Beans. They’re well known among followers of the ICmag forums, but lately, they’ve finally been getting some deserved recognition from coast to coast. What took so long? 

Part of the reason might be just how much work goes into their seed releases. As an apprentice of the breeding guru Tom Hill, Tonygreen has a deep knowledge of line breeding techniques that is very rare among modern cannabis breeders. He’s spent six or seven years breeding his flagship Gorilla Bubble “to create a pure homozygous line to make supreme F1s.”

His first project with the inbred Gorilla Bubble was GG4 RIL, which is a ‘recombinant inbred line’ that combined his inbred line with Mycotek’s GG4 inbred line. That’s over twelve years of breeding work before bringing seeds to market! Not to mention, the prices are 1/10th the cost of hype strains which ‘breeders’ have spent less than six months developing. 

The entire process has been well documented and if you’re interested in what a long-term breeding project looks like, you can find a 500 page forum thread on ICmag that details the Gorilla Bubble work. Tonygreen can also be found on Instagram and most of the popular forums, but watch out, he’s not afraid to call bullshit when he sees it! 

You can find Tonygreen’s work at DC Seed Exchange and Great Lakes Genetics.

Cannabis Breeders You Should Know About

Dark Owl Seeds


Autoflower enthusiasts may already be familiar with Daz from Night Owl Seeds, who’s often regarded as the highest quality autoflower breeder. To create Dark Owl Seeds, Night Owl teamed up with Dark Horse Genetics, best known for breeding Bruce Banner. 

Both breeders have already made a name for themselves, but when Daz approached Dark Horse about making a Bruce Banner Auto, it turned out he already had the same thing in mind. They decided to do the project together, which allowed Daz to combine his autoflower expertise with Dark Horse’s experience breeding the Bruce Banner strain. 

Dark Horse brought Daz the Bruce Banner clone and Daz crossed it to Forum Stomper to begin breeding in the autoflower trait. He sent the F1s to Dark Horse, who sent back F2s back to Daz, who then worked the F3 line, and so on. Dark Horse said on his podcast, “I like that we split the work, too, because it kind of lightens the load on each of us”. That allows them to move quickly and give each other real time feedback.

“It’s next level stuff, I absolutely love what’s coming out of these,” Daz told listeners on the Dark Horse podcast, going on to say, “I think people are going to be seriously impressed with these”. Dark Horse affirms that they are “really, truly breeding towards Banner, so I’m pretty stoked.”

So far, the pair has released Bruce Banner and Marathon OG autofems, but they’ve got more strains in the pipeline, including Wedding Cake and King Louie. You can find their work at The Seed BazaarDC Seed Exchange, and Multiverse Beans.

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Humboldt Seed Company Seed Breeders


What started in 2001 under California’s prop 215 has grown into a trailblazing model of commercial success that utilizes the latest technologies, including DNA sequencing of individual strains! Test results that include terpene content are posted for each variety, along with a short video that covers need-to-know info. In order to better suit the needs of commercial clients, Humboldt Seed Company has pivoted their large-scale organic greenhouses towards producing high THC offerings with sesquiterpene profiles that last on shelves longer than the fresher-smelling monoterpenes

Going big isn’t all bad news, however, and what’s been sacrificed for commercial markets is made up in selection, availability, and price. Regular seeds are about $5 each with feminized and feminized autoflowering seeds available for $10. Slightly Stoopid fans will want to jump on the new band-selected strains Stoopid Fruit and Collie Man Kush, but their Blueberry Muffin has made a name on it’s uncanny replication of freshly baked pastries. For the heavy users, Garlic Budder yields up to 32% THC production.

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Swamp Boys Seeds


Nothing can transform a docile room full of weed nerds into a saloon-style brawl faster than the details of a strain origin story, especially when it comes to the likes of OG Kush.

For decades, breeders in California banded together like gangs from The Warriors to tell their story and claim an immortal stake in the books of cannabis history. When Cornbread Ricky posted pictures of his Triangle Kush on the original weed grower’s forum, Overgrow, he was laughed off the site for claiming that California’s namesake actually arrived in Los Angeles by way of Miami.

Despite being shunned from the discussion, a close-knit group of friends formed Swamp Boys Seeds in 2006 and over the years, the California origin story has been laid to rest piece by piece such that these days, Triangle Kush is widely considered the definitive OG and it’s getting harder to find so-called west coast varieties. Who would have expected the first home of Ocean Grown Kush (which is now considered a misnomer) was actually a conventional indoor garden 2,500 miles from California?

Even though Triangle Kush is found almost everywhere you look (listed as TK), Swamp Boy Seeds isn’t offering seed of it or their other original, The White. New offerings don’t skimp on quality or exotic appeal, however, and options like Kriptiks and Piñata are thoroughbred OG strains sure to impress any OG fanatic. Find them at Seeds Here Now.

Cannabis Breeders You Should Know About

AK Bean Brains


In 1975, the Alaska Supreme Court ruled that the right to privacy included cultivation of 25 cannabis plants, and that means it’s been a lot easier for growers to keep track of vintage and old school strains, which is exactly what AK Bean Brains has done.

His collection includes worked lines of legendary strains like William’s Wonder, Blueberry, Haze, and of course, he’s got Alaska’s namesake, the elusive Matanuska Thunderfuck. When asked by Chad Westport what he likes to smoke, AK Bean Brains said, “Oh, good weed. I just like to smoke pleasurable weed, I don’t care really what the strain is.” 

The past few years he’s been focused on working a TK x NL5 Haze line. He’s taken the line in three different directions, one for each lineage. In other words, he selected the TK x NL5 Haze for TK dominance, NL5 dominance, and Haze dominance, and you can choose seeds based on which lineage you’d like your plants to express the most.

He’s got loads more 1980s genetics including Haze, Durban, Skunk, Thai, and Cat Piss strains. AK Bean Brains grows organically with locally sourced inputs. You can find his work at a number of seed banks including JBC Seeds and The Seed Source.