A plant's cannabinoid profile refers to the specific mixture of the quantity and type of cannabinoids produced by a given plant. Think of it as a window on a strain’s effect and potency.
|Table: Cannibinanoids and Their Effects|
Much of the cannabis breeding of the past 30 years has focused on increasing the potency (ie. – the % THC) in strains, with considerations such as yield, pest resistance and other qualities getting some secondary attention. Furthermore, for years many in the breeding community held a belief that strains high in CBD had more of a ‘downer’ high and were seen as undesirable. Modern medical research has shown cannabidiol (CBD) to have tremendous potential as an anti-inflammatory compound with pain mitigating and possible anti-cancer effects.
Q. Why would anybody want a low/no THC strain of marijuana?
A. Medical marijuana users may desire a strain high in medically important anti-inflammatory CBD compounds without the psychoactive effects of a high THC strain.
The advent of the medical marijuana movement has seen the development of some high CBD strains, but it remains difficult for consumers to obtain high CBD/low THC strains even in medical contexts. One example of such a strain is The Remedy, available to qualified medical marijuana patients from the Dockside Coop in Seattle, WA.
Commercial interests have invested time in such ventures; GW Pharmaceuticals, the company behind Sativex, has done extensive research on cannabis breeding. Their website is clear they rely on traditional plant breeding techniques and do not use GMO technology. According to GW Pharma, four genetic loci control the cannibinoid profile of cannabis. They have a nifty explanation of their breeding strategy on their website here. They have numerous patents with specific genetic profiles – including high THC strains and 0 % THC strains.
There are a variety of techniques available for obtaining a cannabinoid profile, including specialized labs offering testing services such as Analytical 360. Other firms offer extremely portable thin-layer chromatography techniques, such as the one produced by Cannatest. Cannatest is a Seattle area business that offers home testing kits as well as testing services. The power to bring analytical testing in-house to cannabis breeding operations is critical at a time when shipping samples via USPS is in violation of federal law. The people at Cannatest also offer a mobile testing service in the greater Seattle area.
|HPLC Plate of Cannabis Analysis Performed Using Cannatest Kit|
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