"One of the main problems F1 hybrids solve is that growers no longer need to deal with a lack of uniformity in their crop. Now, with F1 hybrids, growers can raise plants with exactly the same characteristics—such as plant height, maturation period, and flower yield," says Shai Ramsahai, Manager of Royal Queen Seeds. The company recently announced its launch of F1 hybrid cannabis seeds. "It has taken us three years to achieve eight perfect cannabis lines, and finally, we can say that we have created the perfect F1 hybrids. With our F1 hybrids, it doesn't matter if you grow 1 or 40,000 plants, the growth and THC/CBD content of the plants will be exactly the same."
What are F1 hybrids?
Shai explains that the term 'F1' stands for 'filial 1', which is the name given to the first generation of progeny between two inbred lines. "These inbred lines, or pure lines, are produced through inbreeding and plant selection over many generations. In crossing these pure lines, we eventually obtain an F1 hybrid that is more uniform, more productive (greater yields), and more potent (higher THC compared to conventional cannabis strains)."
It took the company several years to achieve this recent development. "In 2019, we started out by performing F1 hybrid research and creating inbred lines with exceptional plant traits. This happened after we had already spent three years of previous research, developing our first pure inbred lines. In 2020, we carried out the development of F1 hybrids with unprecedented uniformity and stability. Then, in 2021, we substantially increased the yields of our F1 hybrids, after which we increased the cannabinoid content in 2022. We will continue working with true F1 hybrids with unique terpene profiles this year. In the next few years, we will make further improvements to pathogen and environmental stress resistance."
According to Shai, one of the main problems F1 hybrids solve is that growers no longer need to deal with a lack of uniformity in their crops. "Many growers need to perform 'pheno-hunting' or grow from elite cuttings in order to grow the best specimens of a specific strain. Now, with F1 hybrids, growers can raise plants with exactly the same characteristics—such as plant height, maturation period, and flower yield," Shay says. "In addition, F1 hybrids will help beginners, as their inherent hybrid vigor allows plants to overcome adverse growing conditions and generally gives rise to better-performing plants."
F1 hybrids or cuttings?
"There are many benefits of using F1 hybrid seeds compared to cuttings," Shai says. "First of all, both are similar in terms of uniformity. However, F1 hybrid seeds encounter fewer disease-related issues from day one. In comparison, cuttings can fall victim to many diseases, pests, fungi, and other pathogens." Another important difference is that F1 hybrids will be stronger than cuttings for two reasons. "The first is that hybrid vigor makes for stronger and larger plants. The second is that F1 hybrids will produce a stronger root system with primary and secondary roots. In comparison, cuttings have a weaker root system with only secondary roots." Finally, Shai explains that the logistics of buying cuttings are more complex. "F1 hybrid seeds can be bought easily and stored until the grower is ready to sow."
Despite all the benefits of these new seeds, it is a challenge to convince growers to try something new. "There is a lot of misinformation about F1 hybrids in the cannabis industry and what they really are. The only way for growers to have confidence in the effectiveness of these seeds is to try them," Shai says. "We are sure that we have created true F1 hybrids that will perform exactly as they should. Our F1 hybrids are backed by many years of research and development; we combined all of our experience in the cannabis sector with scientific knowledge from universities and the agricultural market. Everything in this life is a risk, but in this case, it is a 'risk' backed by significant effort and scientific studies."
Luckily, the announcement of the launch had a great reception. "For now, interested parties can sign up on our website to be one of the first to grow them. We work in a fairly consolidated and traditional sector in terms of cultivation methods. It may be difficult to trust at first, but we can assure you that our F1 hybrids will not leave anyone indifferent. We believe these new seeds will exceed all expectations in terms of production, stability, and potency," Shai says.
Overall, Royal Queen Seeds believes F1 hybrids are the future of the cannabis industry. "If we use other crops for reference, most of the vegetables we eat every day (such as tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, watermelon) are grown using F1 hybrid seeds. Therefore, we believe this development is the start of a new cannabis era."
For more information:
Royal Queen Seeds