Will GMO Weed take over the marketplace?

Genetically altered marijuana, GMO weed, has yet to find its way into the mainstream marketplace. According to Dr. Reggie Gaudino of the Steep Hill cannabis laboratory, everyone will soon see GMO cannabis for sale. Local farmers have two years to utilize their advantages before big corporate farmers like Monsanto take over the marketplace. But not all researchers and groups agree. Humbolt County has distanced itself from GMO marijuana and focused on organic and environmentally friendly farming practices.
Oregon researcher Mowgli Holmes from Phylos Bioscience disagrees with the idea of GMO’s taking over mainstream cannabis. Holmes says that the people will not be ready to accept genetically modified weed for a very long time. “I don’t think there is anything that GMOs could do for cannabis that we need that couldn’t be done by advanced plant breeding techniques,” Holmes said. “GMOs can make cannabis that glows in the dark, but we don’t need that.”

How is Phylos Bioscience and Steep Hill involved with cannabis?

Phylos Bioscience and Steep Hill are using DNA sequencers to unlock the secrets of marijuana. For example, labs are currently able to test different cannabis strains for terpenes and other non-psychoactive cannabinoids known as CBD’s. Other goals are to map marijuana genetic sequencing. This is an attempt to combine the best combination of cannabis strains to treat certain ailments without creating GMO strains.

Is the strength of weed today a result of GMO Cannabis?

Todays weed is more potent than cannabis from the 1960’s. Current day cannabis is strong because of traditional breeding techniques and cross-breading. Cloning doesn’t count as genetically modified weed because it does not manipulate the plants DNA. However, cloning comes with its own issues. “Some people in the industry believe that cloning has been responsible for perpetuating a lot of the disease issues that you see in the cannabis industry,” Humboldt and Trinity counties’ Agricultural Commissioner Jeff Dolf said.

Is there a future for GMO weed?

According to Gaudino, GMO weed modification is going to happen whether farmers and customers are ready or not. Holmes feels opposite, he says the community has no interest in genetically modified weed. That it is best to put our focus on understanding the cannabis genome to improve plant breeding techniques. Only time will tell.

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