Exploring Cannabis Genetics with Newgrove Pharmacy

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Ever pondered over the genetic makeup of cannabis? While we’re all familiar with the 46 chromosomes in humans, did you know that cannabis plants have a diploid genome with only 20 chromosomes? It’s a bit like our genetic blueprint, but with its own unique twist!

When it comes to genetics, cannabis plants show their own fascinating patterns. Just like different tissues in humans have distinct roles, various parts of the cannabis plant express genes in unique ways. For instance, the flowers of the cannabis plant display specific gene expressions for cannabinoids and terpenoids throughout their development stages.

Researchers have even uncovered differences between marijuana and hemp, attributing these disparities to small genetic variations that influence the synthesis of enzymes and cannabinoids. This means that different strains of cannabis can produce varying levels of THC and CBD, depending on which enzymes are expressed more.

Moreover, the variety of strains and the growing conditions often influence the price. It’s natural to find that in-demand strains or those with innovative genetics, cultivated in small-scale organic settings, come with a higher price tag compared to, say, outdoor-grown varieties.

Cultivating Cannabis: Understanding its Genetic Potential

It’s intriguing to consider how these genetic variations shape the end product, much like how our DNA dictates our physical traits. From selecting high-quality seeds to carefully monitoring growth phases, every step in cultivating cannabis involves understanding its genetic potential.

Cultivated from seed and involving several steps, the growing process begins by selecting high quality seeds that match the desired strain. Once these seeds sprout and grow into seedlings, they need plenty of light and a stable environment to thrive. As the leaves grow they enter the vegetative phase, where they crave light, nutrients, water and space to spread out. Then comes the flowering stage, requiring a different set of nutrients, careful monitoring and support. Finally, it’s time for the harvest, where the plant is trimmed, dried, and cured. The curing process slowly dries the flowers and brings out the best taste, smell, and potency.

Genetic Diversity: Consistency and Efficiency

An alternative to growing cannabis plants from seed is cloning, which involves propagating plants from cuttings of an existing plant. This ensures the new plant is genetically identical to the parent.

Cloning allows growers to propagate genetically identical plants, ensuring consistency in traits. Interestingly, clones from the same mother plant can vary when grown under different conditions. However, genetic diversity remains crucial when it comes to enhancing desirable traits such as potency and resistance to pests and diseases.

As such, a combination of both seed and cloning is often used to balance the benefits of genetic diversity with consistency and efficiency.

Desirable Traits

The cannabis strain isn’t just about effects and aromas; it’s deeply rooted in genetics and influenced by environmental factors and cultivation practices. Whether it’s the aroma, cannabinoid profile or growth habits, each strain offers something unique.

Genetic selection involves choosing and breeding specific plants for desirable traits. Desirable traits include THC/CBD potency, yield, flavour, resistance to pest and diseases and growth habits. Not forgetting the end goal is to produce plants that are beneficial for patients and sustainable for growers.

Genetic Selection Techniques Involve:

  • Phenotyping: observing and selecting plants based on visible or measurable traits.
  • Genotyping: using genetic testing to select plants with specific genetic markers.
  • Hybridisation: crossing strains to combine desirable effects.
  • Backcrossing: breeding a hybrid plant with one of its parents to stabilise traits in the offspring.

Contributing Diversity Factors Include:

  • The strain’s genetic heritage: this determines its characteristics including potency, aroma and growth habits.
  • Cannabinoid profiles: strains vary widely in their THC/CBD ratios which influences their psychoactive and medical properties.
  • Terpenes: these compounds give cannabis its distinctive smell and flavour, as well as influencing the overall effects.
  • Environment: temperature, light, water and nutrients all influence a plant’s development and genetic potential.
  • Cultivation techniques: substrate such as organic soil vs nonorganic nutrients also sway the final characteristics of a cannabis strain.

Strain Characteristics

Factors such as genetic heritage, cannabinoid profiles, terpenes, environment and cultivation techniques all play a role in shaping the final characteristics of a cannabis strain. And this diversity isn’t just interesting; it also allows patients and clinicians to choose strains tailored to individual needs and preferences.

The different strains means patients and clinicians can choose the most appropriate medicinal cannabis for individual needs, preferences, tolerability and goals.

So, the next time you’re exploring different cannabis strains, remember that their genetic diversity isn’t just a matter of chance—it’s a reflection of a complex interplay between nature and nurture!

Don’t forget to visit our educational blog series next month, where we’ll further explore cultivation techniques!


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