Genetically engineered cannabis.
Dutch Passion is not involved with Genetically engineerd Cannabis, or planning to get involved with GMO crops. This article only discusses the subject.
All Dutch Passion seeds are 100% natural and free from any type of genetic engineering.
Genetic engineering is the manipulation of the genetic code (or ‘genome’), it can be done to either plants or animals. Mice were the first to get their DNA meddled with back in the 70’s. The first plants were modified in the 1990’s and since then we have learned a great deal about tinkering with the genome to enhance certain plant qualities. Food crops are now routinely genetically modified to yield better, be drought resistant, to be insect and disease resistant etc. Genetically modified (‘GM’) Soybean, corn and many other crops are now grown all over the world. The genie is out of the bottle.
Just what could be achieved if cannabis could be genetically modified? Who would have the cash to do such a thing…and why?
The first people I expect to create GM cannabis are the pharmaceutical companies, they have the cash to make it happen. They are on the crest of a wave as medical marijuana begins to enter mainstream medicine. At the moment this market has an annual value worth just tens of €millions but this market will grow exponentially, in a few years I expect the pharmaceutical market for cannabis medicines will be worth literally €billions as cannabis starts finding its way into mainstream treatment for pain relief, MS, epilepsy, sleep problems, depression, cancer treatment etc etc. GM cannabis could be created to grow into large ‘tree’ style plants that may be able to yield insane harvest quantities perhaps over several years. The mind boggles. Yet realistically GM cannabis will be tried if, and when, the pharmaceutical companies start realising the true financial pharmaceutical potential for ganja.
I also suspect that by manipulating individual genes and specific parts of the plant DNA, cannabis could be genetically modified in a way which would selectively favour production of certain cannabinoid compounds. Natural marijuana produces over 85 different cannabinoid compounds of which THC is the most abundant. Cannabinoids are the only compounds that work in conjunction with the human cannabinoid receptors. Sooner or later people will understand the precise role of each of the cannabinoid family and that will allow a second generation of cannabis medicines to be created. These they will use selective groups of cannabinoids or even individual ones, for highly specific medical purposes. Certain medicines may be more effective with plenty of cannabinoid CBN and CBD enrichment, who knows. Perhaps they will remove the THC so you can’t get a pleasant buzz from it.
The pharmaceutical companies will feel they have to convince everyone that the benefits of their particular marijuana medicine can’t be achieved with normal weed. Some of the drug companies will shy away from involvement fearing that medical marijuana may actually cut company profits as it eats into existing premium-priced medicine markets. But ignoring a new emerging market is never a smart way to deal with it in a free market economy. ‘Sooner or later someone will exploit and dominate the medical marijuana market so it may as well be us’, the pharma companies will conclude. By embracing medical marijuana they can grow their own raw materials and use the various active ingredients in different combinations for different medicines. It is the ultimate business model, one raw ingredient that is easy and cheap to farm and multiple medical products, all with very few costs.
Personally I expect the pharmaceutical companies will invest heavily to genetically engineer a cannabis strain that yields ultra high levels of the whole spectrum of cannabinoid chemicals. The aim will be to extract and isolate them into individual cannabinoids on an industrial scale using thousands of tons of bud. Once individual cannabinoids are isolated I expect they will find their way into pills for very specific medical purposes. This is the best way for pharma companies to remove the ‘threat’ of homegrown weed, they will simply say that their preparations are more effective because they are more sophisticated. Of course not everyone will believe them, but they will become rich enough anyway. Perhaps a few seeds or cuttings of these GM strains will find their way back to Amsterdam…..just imagine the great hybrid strains!
In the meantime the traditional cannabis seed breeders will continue to make the most useful contributions to the medical marijuana movement by working with grow cooperatives. I am personally sure all marijuana is medically effective, yet there are some strains that are often better known by the medical marijuana users. In Dutch Passions case, it is often strains like Ortega, Mazar, Strawberry Cough which are perhaps mentioned most frequently by med users.
So perhaps we will see genetically modified cannabis in the not-too-distant future. I think it will take 5 years before they build up the courage to announce plans to try it, and another 5 years before they show us the results. I am sure the medical marijuana movement will be involved in a very big way, but have you ever wondered what the implications and experiences might be for the recreational stoner? Could GM cannabis give you radically different weed to that which we enjoy today? Maybe weed that doesn’t stink when you grow it, or weed with a quite different buzz? As crazy as these questions seem, I reckon one day very soon they will be asked for real.
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