Interest in cannabidiol (CBD) products by consumers has encouraged farmers to develop new varieties of cannabis that have higher levels of the compound. The new varieties are created by crossing hemp plants, which contain no THC, with high-THC varieties to create plants with high levels of CBD. Research by MSI PI George Weiblen (professor, Plant and Microbial Biology; Science Director, Bell Museum) and colleagues has shown that some of these newer varieties of cannabis have a large percentage of the marijuana genome and a higher-than-desired level of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound in marijuana. These plants, therefore, might not meet the legal definition of “hemp.”
A story about this research appears on the University of Minnesota’s Research Brief site: Research Shows That, Genetically, High-CBD “Hemp” Plants Are Mostly Marijuana. The research paper appears on the website of the journal New Phytologist: A New Cannabis Genome Assembly Associates Elevated Cannabidiol (CBD) With Help Introgressed Into Marijuana.
Professor Weiblen uses MSI for genomics and phylogenetics research into Cannabis sativa and other plants.