Cannabis and Tissue Culture

Cannabis and Tissue Culture

Globally, the market for cannabis has grown exponentially, as what began as a recreational past-time has already started to push the boundaries with optimism and attention. It wasn't so long ago that legalising marijuana was a ludicrous idea, yet research into this versatile plant has developed tenfold. We are now aggressively transitioning from recreational use to general health uses worldwide.

Illegal cultivators became small level farms, and in recent years, have become large industrial horticultural operations. The size and potency of this phenomenon pose new issues, such as supply, government regulations and business venturing. With the global cannabis market skyrocketing, suppliers are researching ways to surpass the limits we currently have imposed on ourselves regarding the cultivation of cannabis. In this article, we talk about a revolutionary new stride used by top cannabis producers, Plant Tissue Culture.

What is Plant Tissue Culture?

Firstly, we must describe what Plant Tissue Culture (Herein PTC) is. This term is often used to describe a controlled environment where culturing occurs for numerous parts of the plant: cells, tissues, organs or even the entire plant itself. This culturing is done aseptically, which means that culturing is done without any pathogens or external insects and contaminates.

What is the process?

Behind the scenes, we look at the process of PTC and how it makes the plant more resilient in a myriad of ways. A smaller section of the marijuana plant is cleaned, sterilised and placed in a sterile vessel which contains nutrients, such as sugars and growth regulators.

This small section of the plant have their micro nodes extracted, and further placed into clean sterilised tubes for growth. During this process, which is roughly ten to fourteen days, the micro nodes have had enough time to develop into a small cannabis plant that is absent any roots.

This tiny plantlet, lucky enough to receive individual attention and exposed to a fresh growth environment which then gets divided into other small nodes for other cultures, add infinitum.

The cultures that spring from these sections can be used for many different purposes, such as a storage depository, tempered in a bioreactor, for experiments and trials, or perhaps even brought to a greenhouse to be rooted and grown for end-user cultivation.

This process can be summarised in four steps:

  1. Culture is grown aseptically and established.
  2. It is then placed in growing media and multiplied
  3. The culture is then rooted in-vitro.
  4. Finally, the culture introduced into a greenhouse environment.

Is this reliable?

Tissue culturing is a very safe and versatile method to push the boundaries of production to a vast scale. Tissue culturing is already being used globally, most notably in the orchid industry, with its inception tying back to the 1950's. The tissue culture technology has proved to be particularly useful for seeding entire orchids with stock that is difficult to grow, breed and germinate.

In modern times, PTC is also used to protect endangered plant species in these Orchid environments. The tissue is preserved from these near-extinct species and fully grown in favourable conditions. Once there are plentiful amounts of the membrane and has been bred correctly, it is then re-introduced to their original habitat.

PTC and culturing in-vitro regard plants are one of the many steps that have taken in numerous biotechnological processes. Tissue culturing has immense benefits to the field of science, as living cultures can be used in a range of things, such as synthetic seed production, protoplast isolation, and even the creation of haploid and somatic-embryo genesis. Tissue culturing is strong enough yet to be stored at high negative temperatures, as sugars can be introduced to preserve the living culture cryogenically.

Next steps...

In the Cannabis industry, this revolutionary method seems like an entirely new idea, however, PTC has it's originates back to the agricultural days of the mid-1900's. Tissue culturing is nothing new, and cannabis cultivators can use the studies that have been made by naturally biologically engineered plants to create more supply and stronger strains of cannabis that can survive harsher conditions. There are many avenues in the way this technology can improve our lives; as the strains can also be further developed not just for survivability, but for imagination.

Perhaps the future looks brighter with tissue culture, and studies can be made to show that external factors can be added to the plant to cure critical illnesses or conditions that modern science has no way of treating. We hope this article has been enlightening and are more aware of this fantastic method.