Cannabis is one of few plants to make the transition to the modern world with a broadening genetic pool. In a time when bio-diversity is rapidly declining, the decentralized system of professional and amateur cannabis breeders has created a genetic pool with unrealized depth. Our ability to capture these genetics for future use is questionable at best; as a people, we in the Emerald Triangle need to start a cannabis seed bank to hold the knowledge that has been built up over the last generation.
In terms of medical efficacy, we haven’t even scratched the surface on the genetics we know about, let alone the infinite strains that are hiding in the hills waiting to be discovered by the greater medicinal community. Landrace genetics (those influenced by traditional agricultural methods and environment) have been brought back to the farms of the Emerald Triangle over the course of the last decades, and these genetics have been blended with other favorable strains to create well-adapted, productive varietals for the infinite set of micro-climates resulting in our mountainous terrain.
We have a duty to humanity to protect the work that has already been done as we move forward into a world more open to cannabis use both recreational and medicinal. To this end, it’s important we work with seedstock genetics to begin to establish a genuine understanding of the cannabis family.
Clones Alone Won’t Cut It to Preserve Genetics — Incorporate Local Seedstock, Too
As we breed the new generation of fuel strains, we need to be conscious of not losing the things that the elders have preserved over the years. I love clone OG, HB, SD, etc., but I won’t grow more than a third of my crop in clones. I prefer the genetic strength, vigor and disease resistance of locally adapted seedstock. But more importantly, I believe in creating and recreating the cannabinoid profiles into different phenotypes and expressions so that we continue to broaden the field.
Three years ago, I figured as an industry we were headed in the direction of monocrop clone OG/Sour. Now, I’m thrilled for the reinvigoration of the homegrown seed movement, both professional and amateur. We’re creating a body of knowledge that has genuine importance for the future, and we need to figure out how to encode it and capture it. That’s why ideas like the Ganjier are so important. We have to build our cultural recognition to the rest of the world so they understand there are good people out here doing the best they can in a system that criminalizes them and is remiss in its regulatory duties.
It is of utmost importance that codifications for cannabis licensing recognize the value of the decentralized cultivation model. By allowing the plant to be developed across the landscape, we utilize the different properties of land to access different turpenoid profiles based on the complex interaction between plant, soil, growers, sun, etc., that the French refer to as Terroir.
These factors, when combined with the infinite branches of the cannabis tree, create the opportunity for unheralded medical efficacy research. The absolute truth in this comes from the fact that cannabis farmers are performing personal medical efficacy research as they age.
Farmers Make New Breeds to Treat Their Own Conditions and Symptoms
Our anecdotal research carries the backing of actually alleviating the symptoms we’re using it for. Under a system of unlimited licensees for small crops, if I grow a strain that I use specifically for back pain, I can distribute this strain to other farmers who can perform similar testing. As farmers, we can identify medical properties for research based on the experiences of our friends and family.
The combination of science and medicine invalidated traditional experience in favor of the double-blind study, which provided more jobs and work in industries that expanded in direct proportion to the mechanization that removed the populace from the land. The corporate propaganda machine effectively separated us from the ancestral accumulation of human knowledge, making it the perview of “experts” instead of the birthright of everyone.
On our farm, we’re involved in efficacy testing for mood stabilization, pain management, and cancer. The traditional healing herb of humanity is criminalized, and the more you love it the more likely you are to have been persecuted for it. Human ability to legally conduct anecdotal cannabinoid research is an issue that must be addressed on a societal level.