The marijuana genome map was unveiled by Sunrise Genetics last week at the Plant and Animal Genome Conference in San Diego. It marks an incredible moment in terms of uncovering the secrets that hide within the myriad of cannabinoids contained in cannabis and what the different combinations are capable of.

We regularly discuss two of the cannabinoids in marijuana, tetrahyrdrocannibinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), however there are at least 65 other cannabinoids and 483 compounds found in marijuana, by far the most of any other plant. There is a great deal of speculation suggesting that marijuana could cure cancer and many other conditions and diseases people suffer from regularly. If that is true, the marijuana genome is the key to uncovering those medicinal qualities.

A deeper understanding of genetics means companies will be able to figure out which parts of cannabis’s makeup drive different functions, making it easier to test for strain continuity and breed plants more quickly and effectively. Schwartz said the genome research can allow for more targeted recreational products by specifying exactly how a product might affect the body or mind, for instance by making a consumer feel tired or energized.

But knowledge of the full genome itself, which will be presented for the first time at the Plant and Animal Genome Conference in San Diego on January 17, also opens the door to the prospect of making good on some of the loftier possibilities for legal marijuana. A cannabis-based energy drink or sleepy-time tea could be on the horizon. Research aided by the genome map might identify potential cannabis-based medicine for further testing, bringing about a marijuana-derived painkiller or alternative to Viagra. (Another application: higher-tech breeding for industrial hemp, a variety of cannabis plant that can be used in clothing, insulation, food or lighter-weight concrete.)

This map isn’t the first attempt to suss out the genetic makeup of cannabis; previous efforts lacked the coordinated research resources and stable plant population to make the picture clear. There are 10 pieces that make up the genome, and Sunrise’s higher-resolution sequence can see what those strings are made of and where on those pieces the genes are located, said Chris Grassa, the company’s consulting director of bioinformatics.

One of the most important parts of uncovering the marijuana genome is that scientists should then be able to match up a person’s genetic deficiencies with the cannabinoids that may provide them balance. What do you think we will discover about marijuana’s medical properties?

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