January 25, 2021

An Elusive Pathogen is Damaging Cannabis Crops

January 25, 2021
An elusive pathogen is damaging cannabis crops- both hemp and marijuana.

In the United States, a growing worry over a cannabis pathogen is increasing rapidly as marijuana and hemp crops across the country are becoming negatively affected. 

Cannabis Cultivators Facing the Challenge 

The pathogen in question is HpLVd, also known as Hop Latent Viroid. HpLVd was first discovered in California in 2019, but with further research, scientists believe this could’ve been present in plants as early as 2014. We can follow this research as there were reports of stunted growth in not only the plants, but their terpene and cannabinoid profiles as well, that year. This has been reported as “dudding” (which means smaller bud yield) and this has shown no sign of stopping and continues to transfer this disease to other cannabis plants. 

Unfortunately, it is not of common practice in the United States for cannabis testing facilities to test for this parasite. With California having a black market almost three times as large as the regulated industry there, the spread of this disease from plant to plant has been undeniably difficult to trace and contain. Another unfortunate feature of this pathogen is that it can spread without showing symptoms. Plants can be asymptomatic carriers and have offspring which will carry it and continue to spread this disease further without any detection.  

Recreational and Medical Marijuana Sanitation 

One way to prevent this disease is by disinfecting the tools used to trim, plant, and water cannabis plants after each use. Scientists have also found that gloves have been a big spreader of this pathogen too, so changing them out frequently will also help contain it. Another solution marijuana enthusiasts have found is by spraying a solution with a 10% bleach on the plants to help kill the pathogens. 

One of the primary reasons these plants continue to transfer these diseases is because of unhealthy cultivation practices taking place in the “mother room”. If these “mother rooms” are not maintained at the correct standard, these plants can easily become susceptible to the pathogen. This is why it is crucial for labs to test the tissue cultures to detect HpLVd.

It should also be stated that testing solutions need to be improved in order to tackle this issue. In order to do so, breeders of marijuana plants should use a molecular biology technique that looks at Polymerase Chain Reaction, which can be present in the sequence of DNA or RNA of that particular plant. As industry professionals prepare for great yields, it should become standard to test for such things in order to have efficient cultivation operations. 

Additional Resources:

At The Weed Blog, we strive to produce the latest online news resources regarding marijuana. We also review various strains of cannabis or other edible counterparts. We are committed to helping you find valuable information about marijuana on our website. With marijuana laws constantly changing, learn from us what you can do to promote activism in your area. Otherwise, consider these other top-tier articles regarding cannabis:

The Ultimate Guide To Growing Weed Indoors

50 Successful Marijuana Users Throughout History

The House Has Passed The MORE Act—What Now?

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