Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Ky. company announces 'holy grail' hemp with no THC

"A Kentucky-based company says it’s developed the first patentable form of hemp grains that contain virtually no THC, the compound responsible for giving marijuana users a high," Josh James reports for WUKY-FM. "They’re calling it the 'Holy Grail' of hemp: a genetic variant with 0.0 percent THC."

Since new federal guidelines say hemp must have a THC content of under 0.3 percent, that's a big deal for industrial-hemp farmers. Shifting field conditions could cause a cannabis crop to edge over the line of having too much THC, so a cannabis strain with none could make farmers less nervous about growing it, Jones reports.

That especially goes for farmers growing cannabis meant to be harvested for cannabidiol, or CBD, oil. CBD is a non-psychoactive compound in cannabis popular with consumers for its ability to relieve pain and anxiety, but its presence in cannabis is correlated to THC. With the new strain, hemp farmers can get a more powerful CBD product without worrying about THC, James reports.

The company, GenCanna, developed the strain in conjunction with the University of Kentucky. State Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles predicts the strain will be a "game-changer" for the state's fledgling hemp industry; industrial hemp production was legalized under the 2018 Farm Bill, with heavy support from Senate Majority Leader and Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

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