The Magic of Triploids

In 2020 our breeders pioneered the first commercial triploid cannabis seeds.

This breakthrough follows behind a lengthy list of crops that make use of this agronomical advancement - from seedless watermelons to grapes to citrus and hops. If you have ever eaten a banana - you have enjoyed a triploid. Triploids just make bigger and better fruits and flowers - and without all the seeds.

Our lineup includes a wide array of THC, THCV, CBD, CBDV, and CBG rich triploid cannabis seeds that offer growers game changing advantages - and we believe polyploidy is the future of cannabis.

Don't believe we did it first? Check out our publication in The National Library of Medicine written by our breeders long before the buzz word hit cannabis.

Why triploid cannabis?

Not only are triploid varieties extremely difficult to pollinate and produce seed, but they also show significant increases in production, aroma, and overall aesthetics. This giant leap forward for cannabis producers unlocks potentials not possible before - while greatly reducing the risk of seeded crops.

Triploids don't like to make seeds

Triploids are a naturally occuring phenomenon, though rare. They are plants that have an odd number of chromosome pairs and when pollinated they do not produce viable offspring.

For growers in areas with populations of ditch weed, forgotten fields, or fiber crops - triploids can be a season saver. The pollen that comes off any occasional hermaphrodite flower on a triploid is also nearly useless - for indoor producers who might miss one - they are a room saver. Though plants can produce some seed under heavy enough pollination - but at a tiny fraction of what a traditional diploid would produce.

Since 2021 Cornell University has been trialing our triploids interplanted with grain and fiber crops. Plants are essentially coated in pollen beyond anything most growers could fathom. While plants do produce some seed, cannabinoid contents remain high and seed percentages are very low.
Check out the data here.

Triploid cannabis plants are bigger

In trials, our triploid cannabis varieties produced between 30-100% more flower than their diploid counter parts. This is flower weight, and not counting stem or leaf material.

The biggest improvements were seen in autoflowers, with average yields of 400 grams per plant - compared to traditional diploids which generally hit between 100-150 grams per plant. In our photoperiod lines we see an easy 30% increase in flower production.

Triplopid cannabis is all about quality

For us, we've been most impressed by the quality and quantity of flowers that they produce. Triploids are beasts both indoors and out!

It's impossible to ignore how much frostier flowers are on triploids, with resin that extends further down sugar leaves than on traditional diploids. In side-by-side comparisons, you can see the difference on plants. Triploids OOZE resin.

Studies have shown a 50% increase in aroma compounds in triploid hops - with cannabis is likely in the same boat. Researchers are realizing that terpenes only account for about 50% of the aromas in cannabis. With this in mind it makes it extremely difficult to quantify aroma - but you can smell and taste the difference between diploids and triploids.

We are incredibly proud of our THC, THCV, CBD, CBDV, and CBG triploid lineup - but many are in limited numbers.

Why do triploid seeds cost so much?

While these seeds may be spendy they are also extremely difficult to make - and it took years of R&D to dial in the process.

Not only do spend the time selecting parents for F1 hybrid lines - then comes the science. Our chosen mother plants undergo treatments to be converted to tetraploids. Plants are treated and tested over a 2 month period to ensure they are tetraploids. We lose about 50% of the plants during this process, and some plants revert back to diploids and have to be tossed. Converted plants that survive are nursed back to health, cloned, tested again, and eventually become mothers.

Next its into our greenhouses to be pollinated by our other inbred line, a diploid. In the majority of our runs we see around 5-30% of the seed production we would in a normal cross. We've had a few small runs that never produced a viable seed.

So why the cost? Years of R&D, months of testing, cloning, growing, pollinating, lots of electricity bills - and all for between 5-30% of the seed yield we would get on a normal diploid cross.

Pioneering the process was an enormous financial drain that nearly ruined us - but in the end we know it will be worth.

You can get a full rundown on how triploid cannabis seeds are produced below.

Diploid vs. Triploid

2x on the left vs 3x on the right

So what is a triploid cannabis plant?

Cannabis in the wild is almost exclusively a diploid (2n) species. In diploids, every plant receives one set of chromosomes from each parent. Though rare, spontaneous mutations can occur that result in a doubling of the diploid genomes and lead to tetraploid (4n) individuals even in controlled breeding populations.

Dr. Hsuan Chen and Brendan Rojas, research plant breeders at Oregon CBD, designed a series of experiments to treat diploid cannabis tissue with compounds known to inhibit cell division. The process approximates the tetraploid-inducing events that occur in nature at a very low rate, but does so (now, after many experiments) in a more consistent manner. Treated plants must be screened using a flow cytometer--a device that can measure the physical size of a plant genome--and compared to their diploid counterparts to detect the desired doubling of genome size. Success results in tetraploids: plants with four sets of homologous chromosomes (4n) and an identical doubled version of the mother. This screening process is repeated a number of times in subsequent generations of cuttings to prevent reversion to the diploid state.

Tetraploid cannabis plants have been described by two other research groups (Mansouri and Bagheri 2017 and Parsons et al. 2019) and their findings mirror ours; distinct morphological changes and increased nutrient consumption are apparent, but chemical composition (ratios and total amounts produced) is relatively unchanged--albeit with a marked increase in aromatic compounds. So far, evidence suggests that tetraploids offer little if any performance increase over diploids, with the exception of louder olfactory notes.

The game-changer for farmers happens when tetraploids (4n) are crossed with diploids (2n); the resulting seed carries 2 copies of chromosomes from the tetraploid parent and 1 set from the diploid parent (3n). This traditional plant breeding process is well documented and has been used to improve many other crops, particularly those where seedless characteristics, essential oil production, and increased biomass are valuable agronomic traits. We are able to offer this revolutionary advancement through ploidy improvements on a wide variety of cannabis chemotypes - making for one of the most significant advancements in the history of modern cannabis breeding.

Whats next? We can't wait to show you tetraploid cannabis!


Triploid Cannabis at Oregon CBD

The first commercial triploid cannabis varieties were bred by Oregon CBD - and now released to the public through GTR Seeds. These triploid cannabis varieties show bulked up production, increased resin, and are nearly seedless even under heavy pollen pressure. Check out the science behind the process with Seth Crawford.