Choosing the right strain to optimize yield and value is the second most important decision in a successful grow operation; the decision to grow outdoors vs. indoors being the most important.
The Big 3 Seed Selection Considerations
In terms of grow economics there are three main considerations when choosing the right strain to maximize the value of your grow: 1. Retail value, 2. Grow yield, 3. THC content.
If you’re in a legal state with no limitations on outdoor marijuana plant height, focusing on seeds that maximize growth height is definitely the best route to optimize the value of your grow.
Even if there are height restrictions, there are some crafty ways to train your marijuana plant to grow sideways, staying legal and maximizing yield. The most well-known method is Screen of Green or ScrOG. Growing sideways with a high-yielding plant indoors is also a great option for those can’t grow outdoors.
Let’s walk you through each of these three considerations.
Retail Value: Sativa vs Indica
The world of marijuana is split into two distinct lineages: Sativa and Indica, each producing it’s own distinct ‘high’ and grow characteristics.
We took a large sample cross-section of the Toronto dispensary market to see what, if any, premium either strain had over each other. On average we found that sativa strains sold for a 7% premium to indica with users valuing the energetic high of sativa over the relaxing body effects of indica.
We view this as a marginal retail premium at best, as there was a high degree of price variation within both strains. We found Indica samples that sold for as low as $5/gram (Enigma) and as high as $18/gram (Hannibal Nectar).
Bottom line, your choice between indica and sativa should be about your personal/consumer preference — it won’t make a meaningful difference in the value of your crop.
Additionally, most marijuana strains fall into the hybrid category (part indica, part sativa), where prices can vary significantly as well.
Grow Yield: Select Seeds that Grow into Monsters
If height isn’t a consideration, there’s no question that choosing a proven strain that yields a significant amount of bud is the way to go. Empirical comparisons on grow yields are hard to find (so many different variables for everyone’s individual grow conditions), however, there’s a mountain of anecdotal evidence (forums and reviews) to support the view that choosing big growers pays off.
Sensi Seeds XXL category is a good place to start to look for the right high-yielding seed for your specific conditions (indoor/outdoor/climate). Early skunk feminized being a particular grower favourite.
Sourcing marijuana clones with good genetics is also an excellent way to ensure you maximize your grow. The two distinct advantages here are consistency of seedlings’ genetics and region-specific grow advice (from your retailer).
Strong marijuana genetics can result in a grow with 30-50% greater yield than the average marijuana plant strain, a significant advantage to ensure hard work is rewarded.
THC Content: The Greater the Buzz, the Higher the Value
The graphic below (using data from priceofweed.com) best illustrates the high correlation between quality (THC content) and price, the higher the potency the more valuable the grow. High quality weed (top 1/3rd of reported) sell at roughly 3x the value of low-quality weed (bottom 1/3 reported). THC content matters a lot. Clearly growers have got that message, the Canadian government notes that ‘the THC potency in dried cannabis has increased from an average of 3% in the 1980s to around 15% today’.
To maximize value of your grow focus solely on high-yielding and high-THC strains. Both will meaningfully impact the value of your grow. Strain selection (Sativa vs. Indica) has marginal value overall so choose strains that you personally enjoy smoking.
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