U of M study: High-CBD hemp plants largely marijuana at genetic level

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A study by researchers at the University of Minnesota show the genetic makeup of high-CBD hemp plants is largely marijuana.

There are two types of cannabis plants. One that creates marijuana, which has psychoactive properties and the other creates hemp, which can be used to make industrial products. The difference between the two plants is the level of the tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, which creates the "high" sensation. Under federal regulations, CBD can only be 0.3% THC.

In the study, recently published in New Phytologist, researchers that breeding high-THC plants with hemp-type plants would create a new plant with high levels of CBD instead. 

"This poses a challenge, though," said study co-author and CBS graduate CJ Schwartz of Sunrise Genetics in a statement. "The genes that allow for the production of CBD are also a bit 'leaky.' This can result in about 5% of the product ending up as THC instead of 100% CBD."

According to the study, when the high-CBD plants mature, hemp farmers could be at risk of having their crops above the legal THC limit.

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