Cannabis and Hops
Supercritical research is currently focusing on plant communication mediated by terpenes in cannabis and hops in order to develop improved technologies to deal with pest and pathogen issues in these industries. Cannabis and hops have many similarities, particularly in their chemical composition. Both plants belong to the same family, Cannabaceae, and share many characteristics in terms of their growth patterns, appearance, aroma and ecology.
There are strong similarities between cannabis and hops in their respective terpene profiles. Both plants contain a variety of terpenes which are responsible for their distinctive smells. Hops are particularly rich in a terpene called myrcene, which is also found in cannabis and is believed to enhance the effects of THC. Additionally, both plants contain alpha-pinene and beta-caryophyllene, which have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.
Both cannabis and hops have a long history of human use for medicinal and recreational purposes and have been used to treat a variety of conditions, including anxiety, insomnia, and pain.
Cannabis and hops are susceptible to a range of pests and pathogens during cultivation. One common pest that affects both plants is the spider mite, which can cause significant damage to the leaves and buds of the plants. Another common pest are various aphid species, which can cause stunted growth and decreased yields in both hops and cannabis plants. Additionally, both plants are susceptible to fungal infections such as powdery mildew and botrytis, which can cause significant damage to the plants and reduce their overall quality.
To combat these various pests and pathogens and others, cultivators of cannabis and hops are limited in the range of chemicals they can use due to the risks of residues of these chemicals ending up in the final medicinal or food product. As a result, there are very few products that are allowed by regulation to be used on these particular crops.
The development of plant communication products that are designed to address pest and pathogen issues in the Cannabaceae has been the major focus of Supercritical’s research since 2016, and we have already identified a number of key terpenes in cannabis that can be used to trigger plant immune responses and various growth and productivity factors.