The growing societal acceptance of cannabis, and the subsequent exponential growth of cannabis markets worldwide, have inevitably led to a large number of unscrupulous people trying to cash in while they can, often in highly unethical (and sometimes downright criminal) ways. There are a huge number of ‘CBD products’ on the market now, for example, which often make grand claims about their ability to cure diseases, but have worryingly often been found to contain no cannabinoids of any kind.
Another growing concern, which is less talked about but nonetheless still worrying for consumers, is the proliferation of ‘fake’ cannabis seeds. By this I don’t mean people passing off the seeds of another plant as cannabis - although I’m sure that probably happens as well - but rather people advertising, say, Grand Daddy Purps seeds, and actually selling you bulk bought Dutch seeds of an entirely different (and inferior) variety.
This then is our guide to making sure the seeds you buy are the genuine article, which with a bit of luck should keep you from getting conned out of your hard-earned cash.
Buy from a reputable dealer
The simplest way to ensure that you’re not going to get ripped off is to buy from a source you know you can trust. Obviously, if you’ve bought seeds before, this should be pretty simple. But if you haven’t, there are plenty of steps you can take to make sure you pick the right supplier. Firstly, ask around. Chances are if you’re a cannabis consumer/grower you’ll know other growers, who’ll not only be an invaluable source of guidance through the growing process, but will also be able to point you in the right direction when it comes to getting started and purchasing your first seeds.
If you don’t have any cannabis-growing friends, there’s one friend that almost everyone has access to these days - Google. Dodgy sites are unlikely to be rank highly on any search engine, so if you stick to the top few results you’re unlikely to go far wrong.
Don’t buy split packets
Some less-than-ethical websites will split packets of seeds for you, allowing you to buy single seeds instead of a whole pack. Whilst this isn’t necessarily proof that the seeds aren’t genuine, it should raise alarm bells. Without the original packaging, it’s a whole lot easier for someone to flog you cheap seeds at premium prices, and aside from that the seedbanks themselves don’t like it one bit, and it could be bordering on illegal.
One exception to this rule is when certain companies (including Seedsman) will sometimes remove the seeds from their packaging to make shipping more discreet. If a company is offering to do this, refer to point one and make sure you can trust them.
- Be aware of split packaging
- Some seedbanks will remove seeds for discreet shipping purposes
Check the photos
Any reputable seed-selling website will include photos of the strains they claim to be selling - usually when they’re fully grown and ready for harvest for maximum impact. If the website you’re looking at doesn’t have photos, there’s possibly a reason; but even if they do, it’s worth checking that the photo matches up to the strain they’re claiming it is. A simple way to do this is to do what is known as a ‘reverse image search,’ which will show you where the photo originated. You can do this yourself quite simply, but an even easier option is to let www.tineye.com do it for you.
- Ensure that seedbanks have the correct photos of the strain they are selling
- Avoid buying from seedbanks with no photographic evidence of their strains.
Knowing that the company you’re dealing with is genuine is a concern not just for cannabis enthusiasts, but for everyone purchasing goods over the internet. Because of this, websites and services have popped up that allow individuals to leave reviews of any company website they’ve used, at a separate address to the company themselves. These sites are a great tool when deciding which companies deserve your custom, and are well worth checking out before making any kind of purchase. One of the most popular is www.trustpilot.com.
Check with the seed bank if you’re unsure
Finally, if all else fails and you’re still unsure, you can always check with the seedbank directly. Chances are they’ll have a list of reputable, genuine, sellers of their strains, and will be able to alert you if the site you’re using isn’t on their list. Frankly, if you’re still not sure having followed points 1-4, there’s probably good reason, but talking directly with the seedbank will not only help you to make a decision, it will also help them crack down on fake sellers. Which can only be a bonus for everyone.
- Contact the seedbank directly, to ensure their validity
- Reputable seedbanks will usually have a reliable customer service department
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I would like to visit Seedsman Gifts and understand that it is run as a separate website to Seedsman's seed site, with separate payment system and customer service.