How To Choose Seeds For Growing Weed

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Three cultivation experts fill us in on what they are excited about as we enter the outdoor planting season. Learn how to choose the best cannabis seeds for indoor growing and achieve large harvests of resinous flowers from your grow.

Hot Cannabis Seeds To Grow in 2022

Three cultivation experts fill us in on what they are excited about as we enter the outdoor planting season.

Luckily for us, cannabis was made illegal. After all, if the U.S. government had not decided to criminalize marijuana, starting with a tax for growing it, we wouldn’t have nearly as many different types. When cannabis growers and breeders were forced underground, they used male and female plants to create their own seedstock. The illegal distinction borne by the cannabis plant has led to it being one of the most diverse botanicals on the planet. When the War on Drugs meant Americans could no longer get landrace genetics like Acapulco Gold from Mexico, we looked further toward Amsterdam’s marijuana melting pot. The fusion of American cannabis enthusiasts and High Times legends like Sam the Skunkman, Ed Rosenthal, and Steve Hager with Dutch seed companies blessed the world with delicacies like Super Lemon Haze and provided the platform to promote them. Today, the worldwide cannabis seed market is a thriving industry.

Seed germination for outdoor growing starts in spring. Seeds require 10-15 days longer than clones, so the end of April is an excellent time to pop them to get the 2022 outdoor harvest outside by Mother’s Day. We checked in with three ganja growing all-stars to see what cannabis combinations they’re excited about this year.

David Downs
Senior Content Manager, Leafly

What seeds are you excited about for this planting season?
For this planting season, I’m super-juiced to re-run Humboldt Seed Co’s Squirt (feminized) for year three. I can smoke that super-optimized modern Tangie cross all day, every day, and it makes a great salad with another sativa during the day or some gas at night.

I’m also hyped to bring back HumSeedCo’s Hella Jelly (fems) for year two as a super-agronimized modern sativa that finishes early and has mad cherry and cotton candy taste and zippy daytime effects.

I’m stoked to run Archive Seeds Dosi-Tree outside for the first time for that Dosi gas plus Lemon Tree’s size and syrupy lemon smell. Yum! Last year it was In-House Genetics’ Slurricane IX—that killed!

And lastly, I’m pumped to run Terp Hogz Geneticz Z3 for the first time this year! I think I’ll always want some Zkittlez in the garden, and Z3 is a way to get at the root of some optimized Z terps, as opposed to chasing new Z crosses. I can’t wait to have a pound of Z3 for Thanksgiving! Terp Hogz is selling seeds direct to your door on NXTLVL delivery in the Bay Area—if you don’t know how cool it is to shop, buy and get Terp Hogz genes delivered in a couple hours—now you know! It’s so clutch.

Do you typically grow from seed? If so, why?
Yes! I like the vigor of seeds, especially regulars—they get huge outside! There’s also less chances of a virus or pest infection from seeds vs. clones. I buy seeds all year and they keep well until it’s time to plant. (But I still might get a clone of Jokerz from Compound Genetics for this year, and if I do, I’m all about it!)

What does your grow setup look like?
I start popping indoors the first day of spring and raise babies inside where it’s warm, then sex the juveniles, and harden them on the porch in The City, before transplanting the keepers into 30-gallon fabric pots outdoors in the NorCal sun by Mother’s Day! We try and KISS (keep it simple, stupid). We use Fox Farm Ocean Forest soil plus amendments and well water on a drip timer. And BT to fight the caterpillars!

Are there certain types of cannabis or specific cultivars that do well where you are growing?
Yeah, I’m an outdoor NorCal Bay Area grower, and I’m deliberately running Humboldt Seed Co, Archive, and Terp Hogz because I think their gear tends to be tested and screened for outdoor runs. I know HumSeedCo does a bunch of mixed-light testing, and Terp Hogz in Mendo also works in mixed light. Archive’s stuff seems to be developed more indoors in Oregon, but I know that Lemon Tree has killed it outdoors in Santa Cruz.

I want to run stuff that’s been tested outside, for sure. Lots of the latest crosses are bred and tested inside and many breeders and growers don’t know how they’ll react to the variations in heat, humidity, etc. outside. I want stuff that’s hard to fuck up, as opposed to some diva that molds the second it rains, or some crazy sativa that won’t finish until November. But that’s just me! Everyone’s needs are pretty specific!

Jeff Jones
Horticulture Instructor, Oaksterdam University

What seeds are you excited for?
I am fond of recommending and growing varieties that produce well-rounded plants with new tastes and smells.

Do you typically grow from seed? If so, why?
No, but I have done so with Oaksterdam University students over the years often.

What does your grow setup look like these days?
A simple 4′ x 4′ area light up with LED lights in a larger room that I have found no need for AC to cool.

What has been your experience growing autoflowers?
To me, this is the best reason to grow from seed. They only come this way and are getting better varieties all the time.

Are there certain types of cannabis or specific cultivars that do well where you grow in Oakland?
We have a mix of urban growers that are survivors. Many obstacles to keep from having a successful harvest in tight city living. I grow inside due to this better neighborhood policy. I find less issues and arise with having long-term success. But I do know a few good areas that have outdoor gardens with little to no worry for either the garden or neighbors with bad smells.

Shango Los
Podcast Host, Shaping Fire

What seeds are you excited about this year?
Since I live on Vashon Island in the Pacific Northwest, I have to choose seeds that will finish flowering fast enough during our short summers. I’ll mostly be growing autoflowers so I can germinate them on June 1 and harvest at the end of August before the rains start. I am excited to grow the Purple Pope collaboration between Gnome Automatics and Night Owl Seeds. The flowers smell of sandalwood, lemongrass, and yuzu. Northern Cheese Haze from Mephisto Genetics is always a winner for me too. It captures some of that fresh sunshine-dried linen sweet smell of haze with the bloomy-rind cheese funk that we love cheese strains for.

The most reliable photoperiod for where I live continues to be Mandelbrot’s famous Royal Kush from Mendocino, which will often finish in 50 days. There is a new collaboration between Emerald Mountain Legacy and Mean Gene From Mendocino called Royale with Cherries that blends the gas and shorter flower times with Mean Gene’s Cherry Lime Pop which contributes a complex Maraschino cherry sweetness. It is exquisite. Last summer, it finished well ahead of all the other photos. And it hashed well for us too.

How was the 2021 Autoflower Cup? Are you experimenting with autoflowers?
The 2021 Autoflower Cup was a great gathering. For so long, autoflowers really didn’t perform as we wanted. But the modern era of autoflowers are so much better tasting and yielding. And because they can be grown nearly everywhere in the U.S., they are quickly gaining a following. And, of course, since autoflower enthusiasts are so often ridiculed by photoperiod growers, it is nice to hang with a big group of people who share this special interest.

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I am past simply experimenting with autoflowers at this point and have fully embraced them. Before this season, I have grown 156 varieties. I’m at the point now where I believe in them, understand their advantages and disadvantages and can really work with them to meet my cultivation goals.

How to Choose Cannabis Seeds for Indoor Growing

Starting an indoor grow can seem overwhelming if you’ve never done it before. Choosing the right strain is definitely one of the most important aspects, and some brand-new growers can become lost along the many different offers on the current market. Keep reading in order to learn everything you need to know in order to choose the best strain for your indoor grow.

Table of Contents

You’ve probably taken hours or even days to choose the right seeds for your grow before. This is actually quite expected, and luckily there’s an endless amount of cannabis strains. Do you know how to choose the right cannabis seeds for indoor growing?

Out catalogue includes strains from some of the best seed banks, high quality strains that were created thanks to the work put into crossing and selecting by breeders; strains chosen due to their exceptional characteristics and transfer these traits to their descendance.

Nowadays, after decades of breeding, quality standards have set quite the bar, which is why you should always choose a strain that adapts to your needs. Let’s have a look at a step-by-step guide in order to make the process easier.

Cannabis Seeds for Indoor Growing: Types of Seeds

Years ago, we used to have quite an issue finding the right cannabis seeds that would germinate correctly, and figuring out if seeds were good or not. These used to be basic issues decades ago, but with the appearance of seed banks, and with years’ worth of work, growers no longer have to worry about such issues.

Currently, all seed banks guarantee germination if the process is done correctly. They also do germination tests before selling their seeds in order to guarantee a 99% success rate for growers.

The key question is what seeds should you grow indoors? Before growing a certain strain, make sure to choose it based on your needs, preferences and abilities; this will make sure that you’re happy with your harvest.

There are various types of seeds that can be classified y sex and their main qualities.

  • Photoperiod: which is to say, they have growth and flowering cycles that depend on the amount of light received.

This type of plant needs, ideally, 18h light and 6h darkness during the growth stage (which should be at least a month), 12h of light and 12h of darkness during the flowering period.

In countries which are along the equator or near it, where they have 12h of light all year round, photoperiod cannabis plants will grow until they’re adults* (approx. 1 month) and they’ll begin to flower, meaning that autoflowering plants are of little use in these areas.

*A way to stop plants from growing too small in such areas is to use artificial lighting to complement the lost hours of light up to 18h, allowing them to keep growing. You don’t need to use an incredibly potent light for this, as what you’re doing is essentially tricking your plants, simulating the daytime.

  • Autoflowering: these plants start to flower automatically from the second – fourth week onwards, regardless of the amount of light that they receive.

These plants are ideal for outdoor growers or indoor growers that don’t have much space. In countries such as Spain, where there’s a reduction in daylight towards the middle/end of summer, which tells the plant it should flower, autoflowering plants allow you to harvest while your photoperiod cannabis plants finish growing or flowering.

Usually, autoflowering plants should be ready to harvest after around two and a half to three months.

It’s true that autoflowering plants, because they have less growth time, can end up much smaller than photoperiod plants, which means that they tend to produce less. This is why, in indoor grows we recommend planting fast-flowering photoperiod plants, as you’ll be able to harvest larger amounts of possibly high-quality flowers in less time.

Some growers plant autoflowering strains indoors, although in order to make the most of them, they use 20h of light when growing, which makes for a larger electric bill but also larger yields than photoperiod plants.

Autoflowering plants can also be feminized or regular.

Regular Cannabis Seeds for Indoor Growing

Regular Seeds are those which produce both female and male plants. Remember, if wat you’re looking for is to obtain buds without seeds, you’re only interested in female plants. Once you can distinguish the plants’ sex, you’ll need to get rid of the male plants. In this case, we don’t particularly recommend this type of seed, as you can waste a lot of space and time in the process.

However, this type of seed is ideal for those growers who would like to make their own hybrids; if you want to research and make your own seeds by crossing your favourite strains, regular seeds are your best choice.

When cannabis seeds first began to be commercialized, they were all regular.

As we were saying before, regular seeds can be either photoperiod or autoflowering.

Caution! Don’t confuse regular seeds with brand seeds. In some places in South America (such as Argentina) people call seeds created by seed banks “regular” seeds; until recently many people planted seeds that they got from homegrown or bought flowers. -Some regular seeds can produce female plants, which produce flowers, as well as male plants (like the one shown above), which produce male flowers full of pollen which are designed to pollenate the female flowers and create seeds.

Feminized Cannabis Seeds for Indoor Growing

  • These are the most used seeds by growers and those which we recommend for beginner growers.
  • If you’re looking to obtain flowers, you can grow feminized seeds.
  • You won’t have male plants to get rid of, so you can use up all of your available space in order to grow female plants. This is great for urban indoor or outdoor grows, where space is incredibly important.
  • Additionally, if you grow feminized seeds you can save on soil and fertilizers used for male plants when germinated until you get rid of them.
  • Feminized plants are the same in quality as female regular seeds, even though many people believe the myth that they’re lower in quality.

Among feminized seeds, we can also find photoperiod seeds and autoflowering seeds rich in THC, CBD, as well as other cannabinoids and terpenes.

Seeds Rich in THC

For decades now, the demands of growers and consumers regarding the cannabis market has caused seed banks to specialize in high-THC strains that produce different aromas and flavours.

Via these combinations and selections, they’ve managed to generally increase the levels of THC found in cannabis plants. Analysis done in labs indicate that this cannabinoid has increased in most strains, going from 10 – 15% to 20 -25% approx. in a few decades.

This is the most well-known cannabinoid in cannabis, and it produces a psychoactive effect that is also medicinal.

However, effects produced by cannabis strains don’t only depend on the amount of THC in their buds.

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For example, two strains could exist with the exact same proportion of THC. One may have stimulating effects and the other may have more relaxing effects. This is due to what’s called the entourage effect which is produced alongside other cannabinoids (CBG, CBD, CBN) and terpenes (Limonene, Pinene, Caryophyllene etc) which are also found in cannabis plants.

There are many strains which high THC levels, and as we were saying, most of them have THC levels over 18%. Among those with the highest THC content, you’ll find some particularly well-known strains such as Purple Punch, Mimosa EVO, TNT Kush, or Y Griega. Many consumers are looking for a strain high in THC, and although most of them contain over 18% of this cannabinoid, breeders are beginning to specialize in strains rich in other cannabinoids such as CBD or THCV.

Seeds Rich in CBD

A few years ago, it was discovered that there are some strains that, instead of containing high amounts of THC and high psychoactivity, have high CBD (Cannabidiol) contents, and a very low or almost non-existent psychoactive effect, and it’s been researched ever since.

CBD has quite the medicinal value, not just thanks to its multiple properties but also because it allows those who don’t tolerate THC well to benefit from cannabis.

It has been shown throughout many studies that this cannabinoid is efficient in regards to fighting stress, anxiety, inflammation, pains and aches, nicotine addiction and others, dermatitis, migraines and many other issues.

As of now, there are a wide range of products available that contain CBD, on a constantly expanding market; flowers, derivates, vaping liquids and much more, and many more seed banks are also offering more of this particular type of seed.

  • Their effects allow you to go about your daily business without the mental confusion caused by THC.
  • They can help you to reset your THC tolerance; if you’ve been consuming cannabis for a while and it seems like it’s no longer having an effect or that you may be experiencing anxiety with THC strains, you can consume CBD for a while to take a break.
  • Even consumers that are used to consuming THC can benefit from CBD to alleviate anxiety or help sleep easier.
  • THC:CBD 1:1 Ratio

This ratio includes seeds that produce flowers with a balanced THC and CBD content, which is to say, 50/50%.

The psychoactive effect produced by this type of flower is moderate to low, and much softer. According to many medicinal consumers, it’s the best ratio for treating pain such as anxiety, autism, fibromyalgia, pain and for stimulating the appetite.

It’s also apt for recreational users and chronic consumers that are looking for cannabis that allows them to stay active during the day and get their work done.

  • THC:CBD 1:2 Ratio

With this ratio you’ll be consuming strains with twice as much CBD than THC. This is the best ratio if you’re a medicinal or therapeutic consumer that needs more CBD but still a certain amount of THC.

Additionally, this ratio produces quite a soft psychoactive effect in consumers that aren’t used to cannabis. This type of strain is generally quite sought-after by therapeutic and medicinal consumers.

Some of the most well-known strains within this ratio due to their quality and how easy they are to grow are Jamaican Dream CBD, Green Poison CBD or Ice Cool CBD.

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  • THC:CBD 1:20 Ratio

Within this ratio you can find strains with minimum amounts of THC and high amounts of CBD. These strains don’t produce any type of psychoactive effect and they’re the best for patients that only need CBD.

They’re also useful for recreational consumers looking for a strain that satisfies their need to smoke while letting up on the THC for a while.

These strains are also ideal for consumers that don’t enjoy or like the effects of THC but like the favour of cannabis itself.

Some of the best strains in this group are: Only CBD, CBD Charlotte’s Angel and Sweet Pure CBD.

Autoflowering Strains

Autoflowering strains, also called autos or automatic, contain Ruderalis in their genes, a type of cannabis that grows naturally near the river Volga and in other areas with generally bad weather conditions or few hours of daylight.

Ruderalis plants have the particularity that they flower in short periods of time, regardless of the hours of daylight they receive. These plants, which produce almost no psychoactive effect, have been crossed with potent commercial strains designed to produce strains that don’t depend on the light to flower and are ready to harvest approximately 60 – 80 days after germination.

As we were saying before in this post, these strains are ideal for fast outdoor harvests, while your photoperiod plants go through their necessary growth and flowering cycles.

Why shouldn’t you grow autoflowering seeds indoors?

In order to produce a decent amount of flowers, autoflowering strains need at least 18 hours of light a day during the entire process, growth and flowering. In as far as yield and effect, these strains tend to be lesser than most non autoflowering plants, even regular autoflowering seeds.

The carbon footprint produced by those extra 6 hours and the extra money required to simply turn your lots on is not worth it. Autoflowering strains are idea for growing outdoors, but they don’t make sense to grow in a grow tent that’s tall/large enough for photoperiod plants considering the amount of fast-flowering plants that exist.

If you don’t have much space to grow indoors and you can’t grow photoperiod plants even if you prune them, autoflowering plants can be highly useful when it comes to having some cannabis from your own harvest. One of the issues that autoflowering plants have is that due to the fact that they flower regardless of the amount of light they get, you won’t be able to take clones or cuttings to keep mother plants like you can with photoperiod plants.

Just One Strain or Multiple Strains?

One of the most common mistakes made by cannabis growers, especially beginners, is to grow different cannabis strains in the one setting.

It’s a common occurrence for there to be differences between plants grown from the same seed; they’re sisters, not clones, and they’re living beings that each get similar conditions but they’re not identical. Therefore, it’s safe to assume that there’s a much larger difference between plants grown from different seed strains.

Although it’s true that there are certain strains that, thanks to their structure, flowering time and nutritional needs, fit well with each other (such as Critical and Jamaican Dream); the easiest set up is to plant one strain on each growing area or grow tent.

If you plant different strains they’ll grow at a different rhythm and height, and depending on the chosen strains it may be complicated to correctly place your lighting. Plus, some plants will be ready to harvest earlier than others, so you’ll end up needing to use your lighting to maintain the last few plants, putting off your next round of plants. You’ll also be spending more on the electric bill and getting lower yields, which is exactly what you don’t want.

We recommend growing just one strain each time or choosing different strains with similar characteristics in as far as growing and structure. Even though it’s usually difficult to plant different strains in the same grow, there are strains such as Jamaican Dream and Critical or Jamaican Dream and Lemon King, which have similar structures and flowering times. The image above shows Jamaican Dream flowering indoors.

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Important Characteristics for Cannabis Seeds for Indoor Growing

Knowing how to choose the right strain isn’t that hard; let’s have a look at some of the essential characteristics that you’ll need to take into account.

Out seed catalogue includes a filter so that you can search for strains depending on sex, flowering times, entourage effect, strength, flavour and other characteristics.

Effects

The type of effect produced is an aspect to keep in mind when it comes to choosing your cannabis seeds for indoor growing, even more so than the intensity of the high. This means that, apart from strength, you should also consider the type of effect produced by each strain and the fact that this is determined by their amount of cannabinoids and terpene profiles.

In our seed descriptions you’ll find a list of effects produced by each strain. Let’s have a look at the main effects produced by THC rich cannabis plants, as we’ve already talked about CBD-rich strains in this post.

If you would enjoy a mentally psychoactive, active, stimulating and creative effect, you can choose between classics such as Amnesia Haze, Jamaican Dream or Super Silver Haze. These sativas are some of the best for consuming during the day, activities outdoors etc.

If you’re looking for an even more electric and hyperactive effect, you can try out strains such as Psicodelicia, Malawi or High Level.

If you would prefer a euphoric effect with more of a physical high than the previous strains, we recommend Neville’s Haze, Moby Dick or Jack Herer.

Among strains with stimulating effects that aren’t too potent, you can find some gems such as Monster or Tangerine Dream.

More balanced effects can be found in strains such as Black Dream, Skunk 1 or Green Poison; hybrids with approx. 50% sativa and 50% indica.

If you want to relax while you enjoy light euphoria and potent physical effects, you’ll need to choose between Indica-dominant hybrids with a hint of sativa, such as Gorilla Candy, Critical Widow, Channel+ or Mohan Ram. This type of strain produces possibly the most pleasing effect among indica-dominant strains; they are relaxing but they won’t couch lock you after a couple of drags. The ideal high to get rid of stress at the end of the day and enjoy pleasing sensations.

And lastly, within THC-rich strains, if you’re looking for relaxing and narcotic effects you can find it in potent indica strains such as Black Domina, Cream Caramel or Purple Kush; strains that will relax you to the point of inducing sleep. Definitely the best strains for towards the end of the day. Many growers are on the lookout for the most potent cannabis seeds. Keep in mind that the strength of a strain doesn’t just depend on its THC. It also depends on its terpene profile (aromatic profile) and other cannabinoids.

Flavours and Aromas (Terpenes)

As we have already mentioned, the aroma and flavour of each cannabis strain is determined by the proportion of different terpenes in their buds. This, as well as modifying the effect of cannabinoids, also provides unique experiences with each drag, offering a never-ending combination of aromas.

The flavour and aroma of each strain is one of the most highly appreciated characteristics when it comes to choosing the right strain.

*Growing tip for better flavours: in order to conserve the original flavour of each strain we recommend using bio or bio-mineral fertilizers.

Main Cannabis Aromas

Just like with wine and coffee, in order to describe aromas there are certain flavours that are referenced.

Citric flavours which are similar to fruit are quite common among cannabis strains (as they share many terpenes in common).

  • Lemon: present in many stimulating strains (classified as Sativa-dominant) such as Lemon King, Lemon Skunk or Lemon Tree.
  • Orange: such as Orange Sherbet, with a fruity hint that’s also present in California Orange.
  • Mandarine: many strains classified as “Diesel” have hints of mandarine in their aroma, such as the delicious Tangie, Cream Mandarine XL and Red Mandarine F1 Fast Version.
  • Pomegranate: this bittersweet aroma is found in some strains such as Grapefruit, completing its aroma with a hint of fruit, or Jack White, which also has hints of incense.
  • Strawberry: another flavour that you can find in certain strains is strawberry. For example, strains such as Furious Candy or Strawberry Lemonade have delicious aromatic hints of strawberry.
  • Banana: over the last decade, many famous strains have been created with banana aromas such as Tropicanna Banana, Banana Krumble or Strawberry Banana Auto.
  • Haze: these strains are usually a combination of citric aromas (such as lemon or lime) with hints of incense, spices and fruits. Some of the best strains that best represent this aroma are Super Lemon Haze, with an intense lemon aroma with hints of pomegranate and spices, or Gipsy Haze, with a strong lime aroma with hints of incense and mango.
  • Diesel: this group of strains is known for their citric aroma (usually similar to mandarine) and combination of gas or diesel-like flavours. Some of the most famous strains in this group are Sour Diesel or Ice Cool.
  • Kush: the range of Kush aromas goes from more earthy to citric aromas with hints of pine, although all of them have a common flavour due to their high content in the terpene b-Caryophyllene and pungent, citric aromas produced by Limonene and Pinene among others.
  • Skunk: these old-school strains are characterized by their intense fruit aroma with citric hints. Some of the most famous European strains such as Cheese, Skunk 1 or Super Skunk, Triple Cheese or Critical fall into this group.
  • Fruity, sweet flavours such as Critical King or Blueberry (an absolute classic) or tropical fruity flavours such as Txomango or Pineapple Express.
  • Wood and other dryer flavours are also quite popular and can be found combined with different aromas such as Arjan’s Haze 1 or strawberry like Veneno.
  • Nutty aromas are also highly appreciated in many strains, such as the legendary Northern Lights, the potent Thai hybrid Sweet Tai or the famous Super Bud.
  • Caramel or candy-like flavours are also incredibly popular, among which you can find Sweet Zenzation, which has delicious fruit caramel flavours, or the mythical Cream Caramel, combining sweet, deep and fresh earthy flavours, or Mimosa X Orange Punch, which has an orange and mandarine caramel flavour.
  • Over the last decade, many breeders have created strains with intensely sweet and dessert-like flavours. There are many strains with such flavours, such as Biscotti Mintz which tastes deliciously of cookies, chocolate and mint, Purple Punch, with delicious apple pastel flavours, or Blueberry Muffin which tastes deliciously of blueberry.

Growing

Growth strength, flowering times, reaction to stress, extra growth during the flowering period… these are all things that you need to keep in mind when choosing these seeds.

Depending on the growing conditions that are available to you, you’ll need to choose the strain that best fits your needs and limits.

If this is the first time you’re growing cannabis, we recommend looking for seeds to test out that do well with stress and have short flowering times.

Now that you know how to choose your seeds, the next step is to germinate them.

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