Roger Little, Ph.D.

How Can a Cannabis Testing Laboratory Add to Cannabis Cultivation? Phenotype Hunting and Jasmonates.

The emerging, commercial cannabis industry begins with the growth of large amounts of plant material. Over time breeders have been able to produce potent, commercial strains of cannabis. Strains were selected for potency and production. This production needs to be optimized for every successful grower. Perhaps large commercial operations will have their own analytic laboratories but many growers will discover that the cost and expertise needed are prohibitive. Other than prescreening lots for final testing, how can an independent testing lab help this critical component of the industry?

CTA, LLC has developed a method of screening seedlings for cannabinoids at the third leaf node stage that is predictive of final potency and cured flower mass. Three separate outbred seed populations (indoor, outdoor, greenhouse) were screened for cannabinoids by DAD-HPLC. Seedlings were ranked within each population according to a mAu index. Plants were grown to maturity and analyzed for cannabinoid content. The results demonstrate that the rank order remains constant and is predictive of final cannabinoid content.

A second technique was explored using subfoliar application of a mixture of methyljasmonates (MeJ) to cannabis plants in the early stages of inflorescence. Jasmonates are ubiquitous in the plant domain but were originally discovered as a fragrant compound in Jasminium essence. The jasmonates are known stimulators of the plant’s intrinsic immune system. Jasmonates have had beneficial applications to many commercial crops including: tomatoes, basil, grapes and tobacco. Jasmonates are fundamental in the wound healing process and in the response to infection. MeJ was applied to clones of Durban Poison four weeks and two weeks prior to harvest. MeJ treated plants produced significantly higher cannabinoids and cured flower mass.

In summary, cannabinoid phenotype hunting and jasmonate treatment can enhance the genetic and environmental contributions to commercial cannabis production.