When Cannabis is used as a medicine is becomes very useful to know the different levels of cannabinoids. Some people react in a positive way to high THC level varieties, while other feel better with a variety with high CBD levels or with a balanced combination of both. In commercial medicine, a drug’s potency will appear detailed on the label for everybody to know the correct dose to administer. Unfortunatelly, this does not happen with Cannabis. Fundación CANNA believes that everybody has the right to know what they are consuming whether it’s food, drinks or Cannabis.
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Last September, the 7th conference about cannabinoides in medicine took place, organised by the International Association for Cannabinoids Medicine (IACM), of which Fundación CANNA was a bronze sponsor.
The main cannabinoids researches worldwide gathered for this important event. Among them were Raphael Mechoulam, the first to identify cannabinoids as Cannabis components, and Dr. Manuel Guzmán, a pioneering Spanish researcher in the study of cannabinoids against cancer cells.
Comparative evaluation between Thin Layer Chromatography (TLC) and Gas Chromatography (GC).
There are different chromatography techniques used to identify and determine the concentration of various substances in different types of samples. All of these techniques are based in the separation and subsequent identification of such substances. Depending on their quantification accuracy, we can divide them in qualitative, semiquantitative and quantitative techniques.
Qualitative techniques are those which just tell us if a given substance is found in the sample, without being able to specify its concentration level.
Several cannabinoids studies were debated at this conference. Some of them were introduced orally and others by a poster. Fundación CANNA took part in two of them and sponsored another one.
There are tests that consist in the use of a substance, which when in contact with a certain drug, it reacts, showing a particular colour. They are frequently used by airport police as a first approach to determine if a passenger is carrying drugs. Semiquantitative techniques are way to discover the concentration level of the substance that is to be identified, however, they are not able to quantify it accurately. In short, semiquantitative techniques tell us if the quantity of the substance, but not its concentration. Quantitative techniques provide this kind of information.
There are TLC kits available on the market for domestic analysis of the plants, so that we can know the cannabinoids that they contain. It esentially isolates the cannabinoids in a chromatography plate, on which they will subsequently visualised as spots.
The way the isolated substances are quantified, is by measuring the size of the spots. To do this, the commercial kit contains templates with spots printed in different sizes, along with their matching cannabinoid concentration. Thus, to quantify the cannabinoids in a sample it is necessary to compare the size of the spot observed, to those in the template.
In order to compare both methods, different samples with different cannabinoid concentrations were analysed with the Alpha-CAT commercial kit and the gas chromatography test.
Results showed that the TLC commercial kit is a useful tool in identifying the presence or absence of the studied cannabinoid in the sample. However, only those experienced in the use of the templates are able to obtain semiquantitative data, while more accurate techniques such as the gas or the liquid chromatographies will be needed, in order to obtain quantitative data.
Obtaining day neutral plants with a high CBD content.
Cannabis plants are classified in two types according to their flowering phase. Those that flourish when the amount of daylight hours decreases and those that do it when they reach a certain high or at a particular moment in their growth. The latter are commonly known as autoflowering, although their botanic name is ‘day neutral plants’. The former, are known as ‘short day plants’. There are also plants that flourish when the amount of daylight hours increases and these are called ‘long day plants’.
There are several advantages of day neutral Cannabis plants. The main one is that they can be cultivated in different periods to the ones we would choose to grow as short day plants. Therefore, we can have several outdoor crops throughout the year. One of the disadvantages of growing seedless plants is that in the industrial Cannabis cultivation areas, cross-pollination can happen so the crop will become contaminated by seeds. Growing autoflowering plants, we can obtain a crop, once the pollination period of these industrial Cannabis plants is over.
Due to these, as well as other advantages, those who look for a crop of plants with CBD prevalence find it appealing to do so with autoflowering plants.
In the case that we would like to select seeds with a certain chemotype (plants rich in either CBD or THC or in both of them) from a seed lot, we have to find ways to identify these plants as soon as possible. For instance, if we know that just a 5% of a seed lot is rich in CBD, we would need to fully grow one hundred of them and then test their buds. Fully growing one hundred plants needs a large amount of space and time. However, in their early growing phase, one hundred plants can be held in small pots, occupying much less space. Therefore, if we could know which plants have the desired chemotype, we would save a great amount of time and space. This can be achieved by what is known as ‘early selection’, which consists in the testing of the plant leaves when they are about thirty days old using the gas chromatography method. It is common to use the leaves of the fourth knot in this test.
A disadvantage found by breeders who want to work with autoflowering, is that these type of plants cannot be kept in a vegetative state indefinitely. On this basis, given the principles of autoflowering, once the flowering has progressed, we cannot use those plants as male parentals. Therefore we cannot wait until the flowering happens to select those that have a particular chemotype. By early selection, we can select autoflowering plants that have the desired chemotype and use them as male or female parentals to produce feminised seeds.
This research was conducted by Grassomatic and CBD Crew, while Fundación CANNA developed this early selection technique that permitted this breeding process, wherein day neutral plants with CBD prevalence were obtained.
Study about Cannabis social clubs as source of data.
Fundación CANNA sponsored Dr. Javier Pedraza’s study, which shows that relevant evidence about the consumption of Cannabis for therapeutic reasons can be extracted from the testimonies of Cannabis social clubs partners. The data provided by patients shows that most of them consume Cannabis via smoking, although there are those who use it orally or sublingually. Their intake was typically less than 1 gr. a day and they did not increase the dose in the last three months of consumption. Most of them also informed their doctors about it.
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