Tissue culture cultivation could shape the future for growing cannabis. We could see issues like disease and pests go away soon.
Before we delve into tissue culture cultivation, it would be useful to understand how weed is currently grown. Right now, most cannabis manufacturers use traditional methods to grow the plant. This means planting seeds, waiting for them to germinate, and then harvesting the finished plant. With these more traditional approaches, issues tend to arise during the growing stage. Insects and diseases can infiltrate the fledgling plants, damaging them and making them unharvestable. Furthermore, because the plants are grown in tightly packed spaces, whole batches of cannabis often suffer from cross-contamination. Once one plant becomes affected by disease and insects, others will quickly follow suit.
These issues pose serious problems for businesses. Some diseases like hop latent viroid have killed large batches of cannabis, and thus prove costly for manufacturers trying to maximize their yields. Finding alternative cultivation methods has become imperative for the industry, and this is where tissue culture comes in.
Explaining Tissue Culture Cultivation
So, now you might be wondering how tissue culture cultivation solves these problems. To briefly explain, tissue culture is growing plants by re-using the plant itself. Each sample (known as an “explant”) sits within its own container, isolated away from one another. These explants also undergo sterilization until the plant becomes completely clean. There are numerous benefits to this approach, with the most obvious being that it lowers the risk of pests and diseases. Since each sample sits isolated from one another, the risk of cross-contamination also reduces. So with tissue cultures, manufacturers can avoid the most costly part of current cultivation practices and produce higher yields.
Furthermore, tissue culture provides a host of production benefits that traditional cultivation cannot give. First, tissue culture proves to be much more space-efficient. Each explant sample grows to be about an inch long, meaning that manufacturers can allocate space much more efficiently or lease for smaller production spaces. Second, because tissue cultures re-use the same plant bio-materials, growers can continually draw from the same plant sample over and over. This means that if manufacturers have a batch of high-quality explants, they can continue to rely on them for future production. Lastly, more consistent quality in production means a more streamlined supply chain experience. Dispensaries, and customers by extension, can expect similar qualities across all their purchases.