What is a phenotype?


In biology, the word phenotype comes into context regarding genetic variations of the same species. How is such a complex biological theory relevant to the human consumption of cannabis?

The word phenotype can be used in regards to any living organism; plant or animal. In simple terms, a phenotype is a result of the interaction between the genotype (the hereditary features of the organism) and the environment in which the organism exists. One species of plant that grows in two diverse environments may show differences in physical appearance. Therefore, the environment determines the type of phenotype that grows.

This is no different for cannabis plants. The genotype provides the basic genetic code, and the growing environment will pull out specific features from this code, which will vary from environment to environment. You may have tried a specific strain of cannabis while on holiday in Amsterdam, tried to purchase the same strain back home only to find that the bud looks fairly different. This is because the growing conditions can never be re-produced exactly, and even small differences in temperature, humidity, and soil type will produce varying phenotypes with varying physical appearances.