Over the last five years, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have been a major topic throughout the globe; especially in the United States. GMO technologies have also grown at astonishing rates. There is currently a high demand for organic marijuana; however, we are not sure if there is an alternative. We seek to find out if current technology in gene editing; such as CRISPR-Cas9, can be a good alternative for high quality, low pesticide marijuana.

CRISPR-Cas9 is protein-RNA/DNA complex; a tool utilized by bacterium. Single-celled organisms create genetic war in order to survive. A virus can implant its genes in a host for many malicious reasons. The host uses CRISPR-Cas9, (a type of cellular machinery), to seek and destroy these invaders. This technique can also be used to implant DNA into the genome it targets. Professionals in the study of molecular biology and biochemistry (plant biologist) have modified the system; permitting it to be hyper-specific by mastering the machinery created by bacteria.

Current articles in the journal Current opinion in plant biology have talked about advances in CRISPR-Cas9. Researchers have created a system that permits the use of CRISPR-Cas9 to implant genes (from different plants) into the plant’s genome. These genes act as pesticides; however, not in the traditional form. This tool implants genes taken from other organisms that have a natural barrier to the pest we need to target.

These pest resistant genes can effectively make the plant resistant to the specific pest we target. Given all the current advances in gene editing (in plants), there is not much more that needs to be done in order to apply these principles to the cultivation and care of cannabis. Two strains of marijuana oils were removed from the shelves of recreational dispensaries in Oregon due to dangerously high concentrations of pesticides. Although these pesticides were added in order to protect the crop and create a bountiful harvest; their levels were dangerously high and could not be consumed by humans.

Supposedly GMOs are safer than harmful quantities of external pesticides, but genetic modification can not solve all the problems we face as a society. There is always some concern with changing the way nature intended things to be. Rightfully so. Concerns and skepticism are highly valued and welcomed in the scientific community. They assist us in creating products for the best interest of humankind.

Marijuana dispensaries will need to verify if genetic modifications alter any other traits of the plant. If these GMO strains do not offer the same strength and fertility that natural marijuana plants do, they may not be able to be used for breeding. Genetically modified marijuana can eliminate the need for dangerous pesticides. There are many ethical concerns when dealing with GMOs, specifically related to the patenting of genes and safe practices. One should never accept anything blindly (including GMOs); however, one should be permitted to proceed with caution.


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1 comment
  1. If your smart you’ll stay away from GMO WEED! that would be one STUPID MOVE FOR ANY COMPANY TO GO TO!

    THEIR PRODUCT WOULD BE BOYCOTTED !! GMO”S HAVE NOT BEEN CLEARED AS SAFE!

    they may not present immediate showings of their potential problems,but over time,just like in vegetables the GMO will show negative effects for Human consumption.
    Humans were NOT meant to screw with Genetics!
    for something not being consumed is one thing but for something being consumed it will turn out to be a HORROR story.

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