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What Are F1 Hybrid Cannabis Plants?

F1 breeding explained

F1 hybrid seeds are the solution to cannabis, the current gene pool is known for producing plants with different traits. F1 cannabis seeds offer commercial cannabis growers a uniform, reliable crop with increased yields and flower quality.

What is an F1 Hybrid?

F1 hybrids are the result of crossing two inbred lines (IBLs) or “pure lines”. The resulting plants have uniform traits and hybrid vigour (heterosis), which translates to improved physical traits and increased yields. Unlike traditional cannabis strains, which produce several different phenotypes, F1 hybrids make for a reliable, stable, and improved crop ideal for commercial applications.

The basics of commercial plant breeding

In conventional cannabis breeding, cultivators take pollen from one plant (either a male plant or a female plant forced to produce male sex organs) to fertilise the female flowers of another plant. The resulting seeds contain genetic variation from both parent plants, and, depending on the parents’ gene pools, will produce plants with different expressions of the traits they inherited—just like siblings exhibit different expressions of their parents’ genetic traits.

How do F1 hybrids work?

For the first time in the history of cannabis, technology and the law have come together to create a large-scale, modern cannabis market. However, creating F1 cannabis hybrids requires an understanding of several key concepts.

Homozygosity and heterozygosity

When plants are cross-pollinated, they inherit a set of genes from their parents. Sometimes a single plant may receive different genetic information of the same trait, which geneticists refer to as alleles. Some examples of different traits that we pay special attention to in cannabis plants include:

  • Plant height (short vs tall)
  • Internodal spacing (short vs long)
  • Branching (few vs many branches)
  • Flower structure (airy vs dense)

Alleles can either be homozygous (i.e. gene has two same alleles) or heterozygous (i.e. a gene has two different alleles).

Inbred lines (IBL)

The term F1 stands for Filial 1, or “first filial generation”, and essentially refers to the offspring of two IBLs or pure lines. At F1 SeedTech, we create F1 hybrid cannabis cultivars in controlled environments from carefully selected IBLs. These are plants that have been meticulously bred to develop “fixed” genetic traits. Creating IBLs from which to breed new F1 hybrids can take years.

To create our F1 hybrids, we first breed inbred lines with fixed (or homozygous) genes that result in the specific expression of observable traits such as flower density, trichrome density, flower structure, disease resistance, and cannabinoid/terpene concentration.

Once inbred lines are uniform, they are then crossed to create new F1 hybrids that are highly uniform and boast better expressions of these desired traits.

Hybrid vigour (heterosis)

Hybrid vigour, or heterosis, is the main attraction of F1 hybrids; unfavourable recessive alleles that are homozygous in IBLs become heterozygous in their offspring. Our F1 hybrids boast exceptional hybrid vigour and consistently produce better yields and show higher resilience to stress and pests than their parents, all while preserving the uniform traits the inbred lines were initially bred for.

Interested in learning more about F1 hybrid cannabis? Browse our Press section for everything you need to know. Or, to speak to our team about F1 hybrid seeds, email