Before and during the 1970s, cannabis in the United States came in primarily two forms: as hashish and cannabis buds. Dried cannabis flowers imported to the United States from Mexico, Jamaica, Colombia, Panama, and Thailand, among other places, were wild-grown and minimally processed. Primarily known as marijuana by authorities and regulatory bodies, and referred to as grass, pot, and reefer, among many nicknames for the plant by everyone else, this cannabis had copious amounts of seeds. As domestic cannabis production in the United States began to take off in the 1970s, it was discovered that culling male plants before maturation so as to avoid any pollination would result in seedless buds after harvest.
Clarke, R. C. (1981). Marijuana Botany. Ronin Publishing .
A brief history of sinsemilla cannabis
Danko, D. (2010). The Official High Times Field Guide to Marijuana Strains. High Times Books .
In the wild, cannabis has adopted the survival strategy of producing the maximum amount of seeds it can before death in the hopes that enough remain to sow the next generation the following spring. The seeds can make up to 50% of the mass of a dried, seeded cannabis bud, which represents a significant hardship for distribution and consumption of seeded cannabis.
It is not known who first coined the term sinsemilla, but it is theorized that both the cultivation method and the name originated in the southwestern United States. Due to the inherently higher THC content of seedless cannabis than seeded, this product was popularized as a new and potent type of cannabis. The misconception spread that sinsemilla and marijuana were completely different varieties of cannabis, and not the reality that they refer to the same plant simply grown with different cultivation techniques. This dichotomy between the two was used in anti-cannabis propaganda to spread the notion that cannabis was getting stronger, and therefore would allegedly begin to represent an even greater mental health concern to youths, thus needing to be eradicated.
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A Spanish term meaning “seedless,” sinsemilla refers to cannabis grown without seeds. In the wild, cannabis grows seeds along with buds so when it dies, it will grow again the following year. Growing sinsemilla cannabis was adopted in the 1960s and ‘70s to produce buds without seeds for consumers, by only growing bud-producing female cannabis plants and not allowing them to get pollinated.
Growing cannabis with seeds is beneficial for the natural evolution of the plant. Plants naturally evolved within their environment, picking up traits and characteristics that helped them better survive their environment.
History of sinsemilla
Before sinsemilla became a standard practice among cultivators, there was a good chance weed you grew or bought had seeds in the buds. Bud with seeds are generally considered lower quality—seeds lead to a harsh smoke.
Cannabis can be male or female, and in the wild males pollinate females, which then produce seeds. The genetics of both male and female plants are passed down to the seeds, so that when a female plant dies—cannabis is an annual, growing and dying each year—it drops seeds, which grow into new plants the following spring.
“I only buy sinsemilla flower.”