GrowCast Interview: Backcrossing Cannabis, Cultivar Provenance, & Old School Strains

Supa recently sat down for an interview with the guys at GrowCast last week (beginning of January 2023) to answer a few questions about 808 Genetics and some of our past, present, and future projects.

under the canopy

808 Genetics has a passion for breeding organic cannabis in Hawaii

They asked the following questions:

1. Can you give a background on what brought you into cannabis and breeding – and how far back your roots go in the Hawaiian cannabis scene?

My Pops was growing and breeding in Hawaii since the 1970’s. I began growing in the late 1990’s and started breeding in the early 2000’s. I was racing motocross professionally and after numerous injuries found myself on a pharmaceutical cocktail all prescribed by doctors. I needed to grow my own cannabis as the strains would always rotate and the ones that would give me pain relief, calm my mind, and allow me to sleep and heal never seemed to stay around for long. This caused me to search far and wide to acquire these magical strains that seem to cut through pain, specifically nerve pain, like a hot knife through butter.

While my father was still alive we had an amazing collection of genetics: Widow, Aloha White Widow, Crippy, Frankenberries, Kauai Electric, Hawaiian Dogg, Hawaiian Hash Plant, and Blueberry Sativa. He passed away in 2007, and I watched how much the plant helped him, prior to the state of Hawaii requiring any patient who needed an organ transplant to give up cannabis even with a valid medical marijuana card. Watching him fade quickly on the doctor’s treatment without the cannabis was heartbreaking and created a whole new level of compassion. It was the day he died, July 14th, 2007, I knew I would do everything in my power to give people access to real medicine. Cannabis is a medicine for all people and the genetics should be accessible to all!

2. What style of cultivation do you use in your garden?

Living soil beds with organic and KNF techniques.

3. What general values and principles guide you as a breeder when you’re making selections?

The most important thing about breeding is doing your due diligence to make sure you stress test all genetics before breeding with them. This is where we created the 3-4′ solo cup challenge; if a seedling can tolerate a 20oz Solo cup as a pot and grow 3-4′ without auto flowering, doesn’t lock out, and can handle severe drought and overwatering during this test period, it makes it to the next stage. We will transplant all worthy contenders into 3 gallon pots to test for the “bounce back” – how fast a plant will grow with new soil; it’s essentially a vigor test. From this point the pheno hunt will begin with all pheons that passed the stress test. We will select for specific traits depending on what we are making to keep the lines authentic. For example, if we are working a cherry line, sharp serrated leaves that are so dark green they are almost blue and a strong cherry pie smell are key.

4. Which one of your older strains do you feel best represents your work, a strain that you are still super proud of today?

Haole Girl BX, Kauai Mints, Crippy Kush, Cherry Roll Ups, Black Truffle

5. Let’s go over your top 5 strains of 2022 and talk about how they express and what growers can expect.

  1. Real Cookies – Black purple plants that are a great representation of cookies with that classic creamy cookie dough gas that everyone loves. 9 week bloom period, moderate stretch and node spacing, 2 main phenos: 1 pure cookies the other cookies with more OG Kush
  2. OMG Burger – Colorful plants that will grow huge and smell of pure GMO FUNK! 10-12 week bloom period, moderate to large stretch, 2 main phenos: 1 pure GMO, the other an OGKB cookie GMO pheno, great washer
  3. Cherry Bang Bang – Extremely colorful plants with amazing Runtz candy and Cherry Pie terps with that classic 808 Genetics gas on the backend. 4%+ terpenes with 30%+ cannabinoid phenos are the standard keepers in a pack from this line, sure to please the most picky of palettes. 8-9 week bloom period. Low to moderate stretch phenos, 3 main phenos: 1 will be Runtz dominant, 1 will be Cherry Pie dominant, with the favorite phenos being an even mix of both parents.
  4. Apple Burger – 9-10 week bloom period, moderate to large stretch, apple cider gas with some GMO funk, depending on the phenos, some will have more gas some more GMO funk. Great washer.
  5. Sunset Burger – 10-11 week bloom period, moderate stretch, Orange Julius, creamy gas with danky gmo funk terps, great washer.
6. It seems like you’ve created some incredible work off of your GMO and GMO BX projects, what makes that side of your work so special and do you have plans to continue working those?

Yes, people have loved our GMO work. Shout out to @skunkmasterflex1 for creating Donny Burger and selecting the GMO from @mamikoseeds work. We originally made the Durrr Burger (GMO BX2) off of the Donny Burger (GMO BX) which is GMO x GMO x Larry F8. We chose to use a Chem-D variegated pheno. From our Durrr Burger work we made a GMO BX3 called Guaco. We released it in very limited amounts. We followed up the GMO BX3 with our GMO BX4, which is OMG Burger. We even did a Grassroots collab hat to celebrate the love for the GMO and all the great crosses it has made. We do plan to keep working the GMO line further but we made sure to produce a large amount of OMG Burger (GMO BX4) to make it available to a lot more people.

7. What is next for 808 Genetics? Future projects coming down the pipe?

Sherb N Runtz got national acclaim last year crushing in @thegrowoff competition. It took highest overall cannabinoids and terpenes in 2022 for the entire USA and broke all previous records. Shout out to @bungledetch and the Maine boys! 2022 was a banner year for us: Animal Cookies BX7, Cherry Pie BX4, Runtz BX3, Sunset Sherbet BX2 all dropped making huge terp waves felt throughout the industry. Next up our “making green great again” Green Portal menu is our Crippy variety from my Dad that we have been line breeding for many generations. It’s pure gasoline (set to drop 4/20/23) and has sold out every drop since we began releasing seeds, so don’t sleep on the gas if you need some. We will follow that menu up with a Peanut Butter Breath BX2, which has an outcross of Strawberry Runtz and this line will not disappoint. Peanut Butter Jelly Breath the original F1 outcross was our 2021 strain of the year and looks to reclaim the top strain of 2023. We also have plans for Kauai Electric BX menu, Lemonade BX2 menu, and Kush Mints BX menu.

8. Where is the best place for people to find you and stay in touch?

Discord, Email, Social (IG, Facebook, Twitter)

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Listen To The Full Interview