Our growers’ expertise and passion for creating premium-quality therapeutics shines through in every batch of prime products we supply to Commonwealth dispensaries. But have you ever wanted to learn more about the innovative processes and product development happening in our grow rooms?
We’re launching a new educational newsletter series that gives you a “behind the strains” look at the expert combination of passion and science that drives our in-house breeding program. This series will detail the stories behind how our most in-demand, exclusive cultivars were conceived and thoughtfully handcrafted from seed-to-sale. Each installment will also include downloadable PDFs with basic facts about the featured strain’s profile, outlining descriptive traits, terpenes, and lineage.
Today, we’ll walk you through the selective breeding process and cultivation innovation behind a staple strain in our Grower’s Select line of premium whole flower, which made its dispensary debut in August 2020. Let’s take a “behind the strains” look at the making of Cthulhu (pronounced “kuh-thoo-loo”).
Planting the Seed: Patients may wonder what inspired our growers to name a strain after the tentacled creature from H.P. Lovecraft’s science fiction. A cross between Sour Blueberry and Marie Laveau, our Senior Director of Production and Facilities Brandon Miller says that Cthulhu was “a pillar of the original Marie Leveau line crosses.” The idea was to create a strain that featured the potential “medicinal effects and vigor of the Sour Blueberry, while adding the desirable looks, consistency, and more “Indica” effects from our proven Marie Laveau male.” Both of the Cthulhu parent strains are long-time staples in our genetic library, which were paired together to produce a complex range of flavors – sweet blueberry, sour diesel, and garlicky herbs. Miller says that “when selecting from our original cultivars, the very ‘intense’ look of the structure of this strain was apparent and it’s deep dark flavors of berries, garlic, and wood” made Cthulhu a prime addition to our genetic library. Cthulhu and its fellow Marie Laveau crosses in our breeding program are the result of many years of hand-selecting genetics.
Taking Root: Once the idea for the Cthulhu cross was born, the hunt for the right phenos began. Pheno hunting refers to the process of cultivating a host of seeds from the same genetic lineage with the intention of finding the best expression that strain has to offer. Plant phenotypes can be compared to how kittens born within the same litter may have striped or solid coats – unique expressions or phenotypes of their inherited genes. “We’re looking for plants that display the best attributes — from their flower structure, smell and taste to their cannabinoid and terpene profiles,” according to Miller. Miller and his team may even take the pheno hunt one step further, “extracting each individual pheno to understand each plant’s unique expression. “The end results of the Cthulhu pheno hunt were two distinctive expressions, Cthulhu #43 and #56, which are known as our Sour Garlic and Sour Grape phenos respectively. Both of them display strong trichome coverage and dense flower structures. While the Sour Garlic pheno also boasts aromas of citrus and fermented grapes, it inherited the dominant garlicky flavors which are signature to its Marie Laveau parent. The Sour Grape pheno is more akin to its Sour Blueberry parent, expressing flavor notes of sweet fruit.
Budding Legacy: After extensive research and development to ensure optimal product quality, the finished Cthulhu phenos were shipped to dispensaries across the Commonwealth in August 2020. With their iconic lineage and budding therapeutic potential, the Cthulhu phenos fit right in with our Grower’s Select line of products. A global collection of distinctive varieties, our Grower’s Select products are hand-selected and curated with care by our team using years of selective breeding practices with the potential to provide a prime experience for Commonwealth patients. Working with a local artist, our team created original artwork that captures the supernatural name and garlicky fruit flavors that are unique to the Cthulhu expressions.
Therapeutic Medicine: The Cthulhu strain was bred with the intention of capturing the therapeutic potential of its Marie Laveau parent to provide a unique psychoactive effect that may be both sedative and anxiety-reducing. Patients looking to alleviate pain or get a good night’s rest might ask their dispensary pharmacist about whether the myrcene content in Cthulhu may potentially benefit them. Also found in basil and mangoes, this terpene has been studied for its sedative and analgesic potential. The #43 phenotype also features unique amounts of linalool, a terpene found in lavender that may potentially help elevate moods.Although they made their program debut in flower form, these Cthulhu phenos can now be found on dispensary shelves in a diverse variety of prime live and dry extracts as well as cartridges. What innovative new product forms are in the future for fans of Cthulhu? Miller says patients can look forward to “other strains from its mother Sour Blueberry #2, and even some Cthulhu out crosses which could produce an even better expression of the characteristics we are looking for.”