A recent study has examined the many assumptions tied to THC levels found in hemp, and here’s what you need to know!
Firstly, what are “hot hemp crops?” Put simply, they are hemp crops that have THC levels above the legal threshold. Yet, how do normal hemp plants suddenly turn into “hot” ones?
Well, the CDA claims that “hot hemp crops” primarily present themselves when farmers are using a new seed, but other factors such as overly flowering the crops and the growing environment can spike THC levels in hemp plants.
In fact, in countries where hemp is legal, the maximum level of THC that is allowed depends on the jurisdiction; typically it is between 0.3% and 1%. However, if the percentage goes even a bit over the maximum limit, farmers need to destroy it, like in the recent Arizona incident. Not only do farmers need to cope with the loss of the crop but they may also be charged with a number of offenses linked to the growing of cannabis depending on regulations and circumstances.
Hence, reaching the “right” level of THC is vital for farmers. Unfortunately, this may be somewhat difficult for them to control as drought conditions may also boost the levels of THC in the plants.
Now, let us see what the team at Cornell University has determined when it comes to this phenomenon of “hot crops”; according to researchers, the plant’s potential to become “hot” is exclusively determined by genetic factors and it has nothing to do with the growing conditions.
Cornell University researchers examined 217 hemp plants while conducting field trials at two different sites. What they found was that the two different sites had no influence on THC or CBD compound production. Most importantly, the researchers came to the conclusion that farmers need to get plants with one pair of CBD-producing genes in order to prevent the possibility of the crop becoming “hot.”
Furthermore, the researchers at Cornell found that up to 66% of the seeds derived from a single hemp variety can produce THC exceeding legal levels. This fact highlights the major risk hemp cultivators are exposed to when sourcing seed. According to Jacob Toth, the original author of the paper, to keep the THC levels in control, it is important to ensure that the THC-producing genes are absent.
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Written by Hermina Drah