Weeding out marijuana with genetic advancements

Researchers at the College of Biological Sciences at the University of Minnesota are looking for ways to create a drug-free cannabis plant, the plant from which marijuana comes. The goal is to remove tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive property of the plant which gets people “high,” in order to use the plant for hemp fiber, oil and to create better drugs for pain and nausea.

Hemp and marijuana are difficult to tell apart other than the differences in THC. So far the study shows that in marijuana, tiny hairs on the plant accumulate high amounts of THC, whereas in hemp the hairs have little.

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Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Mike Wyatt on 09/24/2009 - 12:29 pm.

    That was interesting, but it begs the question: “Do we really need to ‘improve’ hemp and marijuana?” It’s natural, it doesn’t need a bunch of chemicals to grow it, and even the “evil, dangerous” marijuana is not physically addictive and you cannot overdose on it, unlike alcohol which is championed in our culture. The science of marijuana is the elephant in the room. It’s readily available and clearly shows the “dangers” are far less than that of alcohol and other illicit drugs and has incredible medical benefit in its present form. To have antiquated “reefer madness” fear steer the course of such a valuable potential crop is unfortunate. We need to stop trying to legislate morality in this nation and let science take the lead. Sometimes mother nature knows best and things should just be left alone. Genetically modified anything is taking risks to possibly open up plants and animals to new, unknown threats, and also introduces unknowns into those who consume such crops or animals. Our government seems to think not enough is known about this plant to deem it “safe,” yet scientists seem to think they can manipulate it and know more than enough to do so. The question then becomes, “is it the right thing to do?”

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