Sunrise Genetics’ and University of Minnesota’s researchers discovered that hemp cultivars high in cannabidiol have a largely-marijuana-representative genome. Featured in the ‘New Phytologist’ journal, their work says that the herbs inherit around 10% of their genome from industrial hemp and the remaining part from drug-like cannabis. Conventionally, cannabis comes in two varieties: an industrial hemp-type utilized to create goods such as fiber, and marijuana grown for intoxicating or mind-altering effects.
According to the co-author of the study, George Weiblen, there has been an increase in the demand for cannabidiol over the last decade. Therefore, Weiblen and his fellow researchers wished to better comprehend how agriculturalists made high-CBD industrial hemp herbs to help meet that demand. Weiblen is the Bell Museum’s science director and the College of Biological Sciences’ professor.
The researchers looked at different forms of cannabis, which include marijuana strains with large quantities of THC. The breeding of plants has raised the level of tetrahydrocannabinol so much that it could constitute up to 1/4 of a herb’s overall weight. The researchers discovered that breeding plants high in tetrahydrocannabinol with hemp varieties can swap some genes, plus make a strain with high quantities of cannabidiol instead. What you may find more commonly in the legal cannabis market is a set of low THC CBD goods.
The genome that allows creating cannabidiol is slightly ‘leaky’, said another co-author of the study named CJ Schwartz. As for Schwartz, that possibly leads to a situation where the product contains 5% THC rather than 100% cannabidiol. Under the United States of America’s legislation, a cannabis plant with over 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol is deemed marijuana.
As for the researchers, that means when the plants high in CBD become mature, agriculturalists keen on creating hemp for cannabidiol may create marijuana derivatives instead. The key here is the 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol limit. Even just slightly higher THC content than it can make the product a derivative of marijuana, not industrial hemp. It is an interesting legal technicality that agriculturalists might have to live with for a long time.
As per Weiblen, you cannot expect high-CBD strains to satisfy the US legislation’s definition of hemp in all cases. That means CBD goods, like extracts, edibles, and buds, labeled industrial hemp are likely to be falsely labeled and branded. On the other hand, Weiblen regards hemp seed derivatives and hemp-based fiber as ‘drug-free’ goods.