A quick guide to the least complicated varieties of cannabis to grow.
The wheel. Paperclips. Wireless internet. Antibacterial agents.
Throughout history, there have been countless inventions that have changed our lives and made things easier. The nature of technology is such that as we explore its possibilities, we continuously exchange labor for freedom.
What wheels have done for transportation, paperclips for organization, wireless internet for productivity, and antibacterial agents for life extension, autoflowering chemovars have done for cannabis cultivators.
With specific types of cannabis, the labor-intensive act of its cultivation is simplified through genetic manipulation.
What are autoflower chemovars and what benefits do they provide for growers?
Plants naturally respond to the environment around them. Some open and close their flowers on a diurnal (daily) basis. Others track the sun as it moves through the sky. Most cannabis varieties will move from the vegetative to the flowering state in response to the daily amount of light received, or the photoperiod.
This photoperiod response is the result of evolving under seasonal conditions.
Now, however, there is a range of options available to growers that possess autoflower features.
That is, through human intervention, there are now cannabis cultivars which undergo maturation in response to their age instead of their photoperiod.
A 2018 study from Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research defined autoflowering cannabis chemovars as having “day-neutral” responses to their environment. 
- White Widow Automatic
- Quick One
- Cookies Auto
- Cheesy Auto
- Royal Dwarf
- Quick Critical +
- Northern Lights Automatic
So, why would cannabis cultivators want to grow an autoflower variety?
The answer is two-fold:
- There is no need to regulate the photoperiod, which means less labor for the cultivator.
- Autoflower chemovars often begin and finish their flowering sooner than varieties that respond to their photoperiod.
In fact, a 2017 book chapter reported that there are autoflower chemovars of cannabis which begin the flowering stage within four weeks after germination.  For the average person growing for themselves, this means a significant reduction in the time they must wait to consume their harvest.
It is unclear if such rapid rates of maturation could mean significant increases in production yield at the industrial level under the right conditions. Downsides to autoflowering cannabis varieties may include sacrifices in:
- The final size of the plant
- Yield production per harvest
- Potency of major cannabinoids present
- Loss of precise plant control
However, advanced breeding aims to weed some of these limitations out.
Are you thinking about growing with an autoflower chemovar? Let us know which variety you select in the comments!
- McPartland, John M. “Cannabis Systematics at the Levels of Family, Genus, and Species.” Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 203-212, doi:10.1089/can.2018.0039. [Times cited = 15; Journal Impact Factor = N/A]
- Punja Z.K., Rodriguez G., Chen S. “Assessing Genetic Diversity in Cannabis sativa Using Molecular Approaches.” Cannabis Sativa L. – Botany and Biotechnology. 394-418. 24 May. 2017, doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-54564-6_19. [Times cited = 2; Journal Impact Factor = N/A]