Healthy and viable cannabis seeds have a brown color that varies from a light to a much darker shade. Some seeds have a more uniform color, while others have multiple shades and patterns of tiger stripes or turtle shells. Sensation from cannabis seeds is another good indicator. Hold the seed between your thumb and forefinger and squeeze it lightly.
Don't apply too much pressure, just enough to check its integrity. This simple and cost-effective method is a great way to distinguish good genetics from bad genetics; they will literally sink or swim. Seeds that remain floating on the surface are more likely to be of poor quality and should be discarded. Seeds that sink to the bottom like a botanical cannonball are probably healthy and should germinate.
Healthy seeds are usually gray, brown, or black with darker spots and lines that don't usually have an expected pattern. Good seeds can have any uniform color on their exterior or show tiger stripe or turtle shell patterns with different dark shades. While all cannabis seeds don't have the same color, there are some consistencies. Healthy and viable seeds will be light to dark brown in color.
Seeds that are light green or even whitish in color are underdeveloped and should be discarded. Healthy seeds will also have a turtle shell pattern on their seed cover. Darkest high-quality cannabis seeds harden when you touch them. To feel the firmness of the shell of a seed, without using excessive pressure, squeeze it with your thumb and index finger.
If the seed doesn't crack or bend, it's viable. When you examine a cannabis seed near a bright light, you can see a bright reflection, as if the seed had a layer of wax. As such, this test should not be performed if the intention is to store the seeds after the test, as it can make seeds of another quality unviable if they are not intended to germinate immediately afterwards. Roots always try to grow downwards, so place the seed inside a folded damp paper towel, but make sure only one layer is below the seed and the other wet layers are on top.
Similarly, home growers with a small amount of seeds don't risk much by simply germinating all their seeds to see how things go. Those that float on the surface are bad seeds that are unlikely to grow, while seeds that sink are likely to be healthy. If the seed was harvested before the plant could charge as much of the stored energy into it as possible, then that seed will begin its life in deficit. You may have no idea if your seeds are healthy, but trying to grow them is an easy final test that will separate the good from the bad seeds.
A trusted seed bank with many years of experience knows exactly how to grow high quality cannabis seeds. The large amount of variation between cannabis seeds means that even good quality seeds differ in appearance. Whether you received seeds from a friend, found some in the bottom of a bag, or bought a package from a seed bank, these tips will show you how to choose the best in the group and start your next harvest in the best possible way. The size is relative, but if you can compare several seeds at once, the higher-quality seeds are larger.
This isn't to say that inferior seeds can't be too expensive, but if you find cannabis seeds that claim excellent genetics for sale at a price that seems too good to be true, except emptor. There is no sure way to distinguish between feminized seeds and autoflowering seeds just by looking at them. Although cannabis seeds don't have such extreme longevity, growers tend to be successful growing seeds from two or three seasons ago. Soaking the seeds will allow moisture to pass through the protective membrane and will indicate to the seed that it is time to grow.
That said, don't be too harsh on a seed bank if a couple of their seeds don't work from time to time when, in general, they're reliable. .