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Purple Weed Could Help Save California Cannabis

Viroid currently infecting around 90% of marijuana farms in California is making tough times tougher.

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Scientists at Medicinal Genomics have accidentally discovered a purple-colored cannabis plant that appears to be partially resistant to hop-latent viroid (HLVd), which is infecting around 90% of the farms in California .

Chief science officer of Medicinal Genomics, Kevin McKernan, noted that the purple plant exhibited stronger resistance compared to a genetically identical plant that was not exposed to the viroid, reported SFGATE.

HLVd is considered a major threat to cannabis farms, causing up to a 40% reduction in THC yield, and leading to significant economic damage. The pathogen spreads easily between plants, making it challenging to eradicate. Additionally, once a plant is infected, it becomes more susceptible to other diseases, earning HLVd the nickname “COVID of the cannabis world,” SFGATE noted.

The viroid poses no health risks to humans and certain cannabis varieties show better resistance to its effects.

Further research is still needed to understand the mechanism behind the purple plant’s resistance. The increased production of anthocyanin, a plant chemical responsible for the purple color, may play a role in fighting viroids. Medicinal Genomics plans to conduct more experiments on their Jamaican Lion plants to better comprehend how they combat HLVd.

Currently, cannabis farmers employ cleaning techniques and testing to manage HLVd, but new breeding technology could be necessary to effectively combat the disease.

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