A team of researchers from the University of Minnesota proposes using the ratio of THC to CBD as a framework for distinguishing THC-type from CBD-type plants. The researchers argue that delineating hemp from marijuana based on the THC content alone doesn’t match the plant’s biology.
The MU researchers presented the above key conclusion in a study from which they developed a genetic test that can predict whether a plant will mostly produce the CBD or THC molecule.
The research team said that understanding the genetic basis for CBD-type and THC-type plants presents certain implications for the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and industrial hemp programs within states. The team further suggested that cultivation seeds could be certified based on genetics to maintain consistency and quality. They affirm that farmers are aware of what they are planting.
By the end of the study, the research team maintains arguments regarding the definitions of THC-type, CBD-type, intermediate-type, and CBG-type plants and how accurate they are as the cannabis industry continues to diversify.
The presence of more than one of the three cannabinoid classes in feral, industrial, and chemical populations renders the dichotomy between hemp and marijuana meaningless from a botanical perspective.
The UM study’s objective was to assist hemp farmers in determining when their plants may go ‘hot’ or over the 0.3% THC limit while doing away with the necessity of periodic toning.
The researchers said they hope the new test can assist in new seed certification for the hemp industry.
The team was led by George Weiblen, a new professor in the UM College of Biological Sciences and Science Director and curator of plants at the Bella Musea.
Dr. Weiben added that there must be ways to ensure farmers don’t destroy their crops at the end of the season if hemp is to take off in Minnesota and elsewhere.