In the earlier blog post we looked at the opportunities around leveraging Cannabis for medical and recreational use in certain regions and countries where it has been recently legalized.  We have also explored the ways in which Blockchain enhances the traceability of Cannabis. Given the opportunities in innovation, technology and science, we can develop further techniques to foster growth in this industry by utilizing the advancements made in genomics.  Let's take a look at some of the possibilities.


Opportunities For Applying Genomics In Cannabis

Since the launch of The Human Genome Project in 1990, Genomics has advanced immensely. However, in the Cannabis industry, tracking the DNA and genome of a Cannabis plant is still difficult and industry practitioners face many challenges. This is because the research into the genome or origin of Cannabis plants has started very recently as scientists were restricted by strict government laws earlier. Moreover, there was almost little to no government funding into research of the genome of Cannabis.

While the Cannabis continues to find more applications across, medicine, cosmetics, food & beverages, there are a few issues faced by stakeholders in the industry:

  • Growers want to protect their strain from being pirated and sold elsewhere without paying any license fee
  • Growers want to be 100% sure of the identity and genetics of their seed
  • Consumers want to know the exact genetics of the strain they are purchasing as in many cases strains are falsely named
  • Medical patients require a certain strain and level of THC (Tetra Hydro Cannabinol) and CBD (Cannabidiol) to treat their specific symptoms and therefore need to be 100% sure of the provenance of the strain.

In most cases, the cannabis plant is cloned to ensure growth of the female plant and retention of the same strain. However, the problem with this is that clones start to exhibit undesirable characteristics as they are more susceptible to diseases.

Genome Identification of Cannabis

Through genomics, the lineage of modern day Cannabis strains can be identified and verified. This would include the offspring, the parents and any distant ancestors as well. It allows scientists to do a full genome sequence for full identification of what that genetic strain is. A company can implement rapid genetic verification tests, testing for chemistry, microbial pesticide screening, and other tests.

Cannabis Tissue Culture Testing

The authenticity of test data and test results can be guaranteed by Blockchain technology. The information chain, consisting of the strains information and tests results is then traceable across the Cannabis supply chain. 

The Cannabis testing process can perform DNA fingerprinting to identify the essential traits such as 

  • Overall plant chemotype
  • Percentage of THCA, CBDA
  • Composition of other minor cannabinoids and terpenes

Combining Genomics With Blockchain Traceability

By closely monitoring the Cannabis cloning and testing process, data can be preserved in a Blockchain system as an embossed permanent record.  Additionally, documents and images can also be preserved as additional supporting evidence. 

Combining the genetic cloning and testing information of a Cannabis plant along with the supply chain events gives us the power to thwart any level of counterfeit. This is achieved by an impregnable trail of a genomic data backed by Blockchain powered evidential traceability.

About the author Staff

Showcasing and curating a knowledge base of tech use cases from across the web.

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