The Dutch know a thing or two when it comes to cannabis. Over the years, they have had a major influence on the way the world cultivates and consumes cannabis—from the laid back vibes of Amsterdam coffee shop culture to the potent Nederwiet that raised the bar on THC levels.
Since the 1990s, Paradise Seeds has been at the forefront of driving change in cannabis cultivation. The Amsterdam-based seed bank has been a pioneer in the development of the cannabis seed market and is one of the most decorated seed companies in the business.
With over 30 strains on the Paradise Seeds shelf, it has won numerous awards, including the High Times Cannabis Cup.
We caught up with Paradise Seeds founder and master breeder, Luc Paradise, to find out some more about this innovative seed company:
High Times: Hi Luc, you’re a busy man, so thanks for taking some time out to chat. How’s your day going?
Luc Paradise: Hi! No problem. It’s always a pleasure to speak with High Times! My day has been great so far. I have been in the Paradise Seeds shop (around the corner from Dam Square in central Amsterdam) looking at a new arrival of new Paradise T-shirt designs and reviewing seed releases for next year.
HT: Sounds exciting! What’s on the agenda for the next Paradise Seeds release?
LP: It’s a secret, but I promise it’s something special! However, for now we are promoting our new collaboration with Chong’s Choice, which involves three new strains—L.A. Amnesia (sativa), Blue Kush Berry (indica) and Mendocino Skunk (hybrid). Tommy Chong is such a legend on the scene, and it has been great working with him on this.
HT: Speaking of legends, you have been on the scene for a long time. When did you start Paradise Seeds?
LP: In 1994 (Paradise Seeds is 23 this year!), I started producing seeds for sale, but I had been experimenting before that, driven by the passion to create flavorful, strong, high quality weed. Back then, Amsterdam was a real hub for the international cannabis community, and I started to breed, using seeds passed on to me from travelers returning from marijuana heartlands around the world. Suddenly, I had all these requests for my seeds! Out of that, Paradise grew!
HT: But it was Sensi Star that made the Paradise Seeds name right?
LP: Ah yes, that was in 1999, when we won the High Times and Highlife Cups in the same year. Sensi Star became known for being ‘the strongest indica you will ever smoke.’ Those were crazy times! After that, we got a lot of attention in the USA and Europe. We expanded the strain collection and got more great reviews and won a lot of Cups in the 2000s. We were one of the first seed companies to develop feminized and auto-flower strains, and that won us a whole new fan base too.
HT: And the medical?
LP: Again, we were early adopters of medical/CBD-rich varieties. We had so many inquiries from medical patients who had heard about the healing properties of marijuana—long before the notion became popular and more socially acceptable. For me, it was essential to channel the positivity and medical potential of this great plant.
HT: And this has influenced your involvement with a number of medical cannabis projects?
LP: Yes. I am particularly proud of our involvement with the Medical Cannabis Bike Tour, which has raised over 400,000 Euros to independently fund clinical trials using cannabinoids as a cancer treatment. We also provided the seeds for Latin Americas’ first legal grow (6,500 plants) in Chile, organized by the Daya Foundation. We also supply the strains for medical license producers Abcann Medicinals in Canada.
HT: What is the secret to a good strain?
LP: It’s all in the genes! We are one of the few breeder owned companies. All those years of experience go into the development of each new strain, and you can see the results in our high germination rate (95%+), uniform growth patterns and quality of yield. Anyone can launch a seed company, but that experience is invaluable. At Paradise, growing great weed is still our biggest passion!