Since the legalization of cannabis in several states across the US and various countries throughout the world, a new world of understanding weed has undoubtedly exploded.
Just ten years ago, most people were familiar with the difference between indica and sativa strains at best, while today there’s a market saturated with concentrates, tinctures, salves, and edibles. Cannabidiol (CBD) is just as familiar as THC (if not more), and new discoveries about cannabis are being made all the time.
Oregon Biologist Travels the World Collecting Cannabis DNA…Research Will Forever Change the Way We Look at Weed
Mowgli Holmes is a biologist in Oregon who is busy making cannabis discoveries of his own. His research however, is different than much of what is being studied about cannabis across the globe. He’s not interested in medical benefits or what strain is best for what. Holmes is after cannabis DNA…and he’s travelled the world collecting it.
Working out of Oregon Health and Science University in his lab Phylos Bioscience, Holmes has put together the largest collection of cannabis genetics ever known.
As wildly popular as cannabis is, there hasn’t been any research done on the genetics of the plant itself. “We have a whole organism that there’s basically no body of knowledge on,” says Holmes. “This doesn’t happen like this in science, where you have a plant like this that’s been cordoned off from research.”
Holmes is working to see this change. To date, there are over 2,000 samples that have been collected in his lab. Some of the oldest samples include those of a 2,700-year-old strain from Northern China. Some of his specimens have been gifted from cannabis lovers throughout the world. He’s acquired others at herbariums and museums.
Moving Beyond the Mainstream Through a Deeper Understanding of Cannabis DNA
Upon completion of collecting data, Holmes plans to give what he’s found to the Open Cannabis Project (OCP). This non-profit organization was established to “protect the genetic diversity of the plant, as well as the economic diversity of the cannabis industry.” OCP is also compiling a database of all strains of cannabis to safeguard that they stay in the public domain.
Once the database is completed, a testing program will be developed. This will allow growers and dispensaries to better understand the DNA of any strain they want. According to one researcher at the American Museum of Natural History, “this is going to lead to a lot of legitimacy in the industry.”
Holmes research will forever change the way we understand cannabis. It will allow us to move beyond the mainstream indica, sativa, hybrid samples we’re all familiar with, and move into a complete understanding of exactly what a particular strain is comprised.