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Hop Latent Viroid: New Pathogen Stalking Cannabis Plants

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hop latent viroid, cannabis industry, cannabis cultivation techniques, weed growers forum

BOSTON – Weed growers are battling a highly contagious crop disease that scientists have named, “Hop Latent Viroid.” The pathogenic RNA is particular to marijuana plants and has become a significant danger to the nation’s cannabis sector, with some believing it may cause the collapse of the entire cannabis industry.

The disease can spread quickly and ruin the harvests’ market value. By the time cultivators see the warning signs, according to Nick Masso of Indo Labs, a cannabis-testing facility south of Boston, they only have one choice; “You cannot recover from the hop latent virus, so destroy everything!”

An analysis by cannabis genetics firm Dark Heart Industries found that the disease affected almost all of California’s marijuana nurseries, with the impact rippling across the country. The fact that cannabis is still illegal at the federal level doesn’t help. While moving plants from one state to another is prohibited, cannabis growers can still purchase seeds or young plants from other states thanks to a gray area in some state rules. That movement is a significant factor in how the pathogens spread, Masso said

Hop latent viroid can be avoided with the best cannabis cultivation techniques, strict sanitation, routine lab testing, and plant procurement from pre-tested seed or local stock. According to Masso, businesses that made compromises to save time and money are now paying the price. So far, human health effects are still unknown. The blight poses more of a threat to cannabis firms in an unstable market, according to Dr. Peter Grinspoon, a medicinal cannabis expert at Massachusetts General Hospital.

The Cannabis Control Commission, Massachusetts’ official regulating body, is only now catching up. Commissioner Bruce Stebbins said that testing and lab personnel are being added to ensure the practices comply with the rules. Inadequate testing by marijuana manufacturers increases the possibility of contaminated products, which could harm customers. From sharing ideas at weed growers forum, and experiments done by cannabis scientists and advocates, they are hopeful that this will halt the threat.  Hop latent viroid has a cost associated with it, which according to Masso, could push the industry to adopt greater standards.

Here’s more information on the topic:

Experts sound alarm over global spread of dangerous marijuana viroid

Experts sound alarm over global spread of dangerous marijuana viroid

How Tackling Hop Latent Viroid Early Can Boost Your Bottom Line