At the Plant and Animal Genome Conference in San Diego, the full genome of cannabis will be presented for the very first time today. Sunrise Genetics is unveiling all of their hard work and it is truly a step in the right direction for not only medicine but also for anyone enthusiastic about marijuana and all of its secrets.
Whether a person struggles with chronic pain, anxiety, inflammation, sleeplessness, PTSD or any of the long list of conditions that marijuana has shown the ability to help, finding the exact right strain of marijuana can be a challenge. Most marijuana strains available to the public are hybrids and there is such a large set of choices that consumers are often unsure of which strain would be best for them. The solution to knowing exactly which strain would stabilize certain conditions lies in the marijuana genome map.
A deeper understanding of genetics means companies will be able to figure out which parts of cannabis’s makeup drive different functions, making it easier to test for strain continuity and breed plants more quickly and effectively. Schwartz said the genome research can allow for more targeted recreational products by specifying exactly how a product might affect the body or mind, for instance by making a consumer feel tired or energized.
But knowledge of the full genome itself, which will be presented for the first time at the Plant and Animal Genome Conference in San Diego on January 17, also opens the door to the prospect of making good on some of the loftier possibilities for legal marijuana. A cannabis-based energy drink or sleepy-time tea could be on the horizon. Research aided by the genome map might identify potential cannabis-based medicine for further testing, bringing about a marijuana-derived painkiller or alternative to Viagra. (Another application: higher-tech breeding for industrial hemp, a variety of cannabis plant that can be used in clothing, insulation, food or lighter-weight concrete.)
This map isn’t the first attempt to suss out the genetic makeup of cannabis; previous efforts lacked the coordinated research resources and stable plant population to make the picture clear. There are 10 pieces that make up the genome, and Sunrise’s higher-resolution sequence can see what those strings are made of and where on those pieces the genes are located, said Chris Grassa, the company’s consulting director of bioinformatics.