Definitions Every Cannabis Cultivator Should Know

Front Range Biosciences

With the legalization of cannabis taking hold in many parts of the US, the industry is bursting with innovation. For cannabis cultivators, this is great news. For those of you wanting to bring cultivation to the next level — to increase efficiency, disease resistance, and available varieties — this glossary of key terms is required reading.

Terms listed in alphabetical order:

Agronomic traits – Specific varietal traits that affect how crops grow and are harvested. Agronomic traits include higher yields, lower water consumption, and disease resistance amongst other things, that determine how effectively cannabis can be grown at scale.

Cannabis – Cannabis is a genus from the Cannabaceae family. There are three species of cannabis: sativa, indica, and ruderalis. Cannabis is typically used as the general term for all forms of cannabis and the cannabis plant (hemp and marijuana).

CBD – Cannabidiol is a naturally occurring chemical compound of cannabis. Research has shown that it has anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety properties without the psychoactive effects. It also appears to be helpful for many health conditions like epilepsy and chronic pain. It is one of many active cannabinoids found in cannabis.

Clean Stock® Tissue Culture – At FRB, we deliver clones based on production demands through tissue culture propagation. With the proper facility, millions of plants can be cloned to be exact replicas of the mother plant. We do this for growers and cultivators of cannabis; our baby plants are produced in a specialized environment that is sterile and pesticide-free.

Our program also includes storage and maintenance of disease-free lines used in production. If no additional varietals are brought in to the facility from outside the Clean Stock® Program, the risk of catastrophic losses due to viruses and other pathogens can be drastically reduced.

Traditional cloning describes the process in which a piece of the mother plant is cut and placed in a rooting medium with nutrients. Our program is different – when a piece from the mother plant is selected, it is cleaned up to remove disease, placed in a sterile environment, and established in tissue culture. From there, multiplication of the plant will happen until the desired result occurs.

Cloning – The asexual method for reproducing plants, also known as vegetative propagation. Through traditional cloning, you can create a new harvest of the cannabis plant. A piece of the mother plant is cut and dipped into a mix of rooting medium and nutrients. The plant will grow roots, thus having the potential to grow into an exact replica of the mother plant.

The issue with cloning is that pathogens (like bacteria) can go unnoticed and be passed off to the new offspring. Our Clean Stock® tissue culture process eliminates the risk by beginning the process in a sterile environment (see definition above).

Cultivar – A group of plants selected because of their desirable characteristics and propagated with seeds or through cloning. Cultivar means “cultivated variety,” produced through human intervention. Cannabis crops are cultivars; cultivation improves the yield and reduces the risk of disease in the new crop.

Genome – The complete set of genetic material in a cell or organism. Scientists study these genes to determine their relationship to each other, how they interact, and what that means for human consumption. At FRB, we use Genomics and Breeding as a tool to deliver varietals that have a higher disease resistance and better agronomic traits and that create higher yields.

Hemp – A short, bushy plant with broader leaves that has a tough fiber extracted from its stem. Hemp and marijuana are from the same plant, Cannabis sativa, but are different cultivars. Hemp has lower levels of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and higher levels of cannabidiol (CBD) compared to marijuana. There are no psychoactive effects from hemp.

Marijuana – Part of the cannabis sativa family. It is made from the broad, dried leaves and flowers of the cannabis plant and used for medicinal or recreational purposes. Marijuana contains high levels of THC that produces psychoactive effects to the user. It also includes the chemical structure of cannabidiol (CBD). It is harvested directly from the plant.

Tissue Culture – The growth of plant tissue separate from the complete organism, in a clean, sterile environment. Fragments of tissue from the suitable plant are cut and undergo a cleaning process. The tissue culture is then transferred to an artificial environment, like a greenhouse, to grow and function. The plants grown with this method are healthier with no disease on them to start.

THC – Tetrahydrocannabinol is a compound found in cannabis. This is the primary intoxicant found in marijuana when using for recreational or medicinal purposes.

Variety – Varieties occur naturally in the plant kingdom. These plants are cultivated through seeds and may or may not turn out exactly like their parent seed.

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