Cannabis with mushroom trichomes contains the highest concentration of cannabinoids
Employees of the University of British Columbia studied trichomes – hairs located on hemp inflorescences. Scientists have found that the most cannabinoids and terpenes are found in mushroom trichomes.
Species and features of trichome cannabis
Trichomes are biochemical factories for the production and storage of cannabinoids and terpenes. These substances are synthesized during metabolism in the inflorescences of a female plant. In shape trichomes are distinguished into three types:
To determine the chemical composition of the hairs, the researchers used a two-photon laser microscope and autofluorescence analysis. As a result, it was possible to prove that under ultraviolet light mushroom trichomes emit blue light, and spherical trichomes – red. Blue autofluorescence means a high concentration of cannabinoids, and red – low.
Botanists noticed that 12 to 16 clusters of secretory disk cells that cannabinoids and terpenes produce are located on the mushroom hairs. Eight clusters are located on spherical trichomes, and not a single conglomerate of secretory cells was recorded on the bulbous trichomes. One of the authors of the project, Sam Livingston, said that the amount of mushroom trichomes directly affects the percentage of cannabinoids and terpenes.
Genetic features of hemp hairs
The researchers analyzed the DNA in trichomes and found that most of the genes responsible for cannabinoid production are found in all types of hairs. The only difference is that the genotype of mushroom trichomes is specialized for the production of cannabidiol acid. Professor Ann Samuels compiled a list of the main genes that control the synthesis of cannabinoids and believes that this information can be used to select more productive hemp varieties with a specific set of cannabinoids and terpenes. To this end, she suggests using a dual approach: molecular genetics and selection technology. Experiments with the development of new cannabis strains are a priority, as they have high economic potential.
During the next phase of research, university workers want to learn how trichomes store and transfer metabolites. According to Livingston, cannabinoids in high concentrations are toxic to cannabis cells, so the plant must use an unusual method of accumulation and conservation of substances. He noted that the ban on the study of cannabis has led to a lack of scientific knowledge about the biological characteristics of hemp.