Public Domain image. USDA. Source: Wikipedia
Public Domain image. USDA. Source:

Pathogens are a virulent killer. They leave farmers helpless and afraid of losing their entire seasons worth of work. They kill quickly if you are not paying attention. We had so many farmers come to us in a panic in July and August of 2014. At that time we did not have a pathologist on staff, but quickly realized that is what our community needed. We had to help these people; I could see the panic in their face when they thought they would lose everything they had worked so hard for all season. We started by outsourcing pathology to trusted laboratories that would work with cannabis, not all of them do because of the nature of the plant’s legal status.

How Well Do Pathology Labs Understand Cannabis?

Our interest in bringing on the plant pathology service grew as did the need for a more thorough diagnosis. We were getting negative test results from outside labs even though our client’s plants were obviously afflicted with a pathogen. We hired a pathologist who looked at these plants and found fungal hyphae clogging up the vascular systems, while the other labs were telling us they found no trace of pathogens.

Sponsored article from DBS Analytics, a Silver sponsor of the Ganjier Spring Kickoff!

We figured out that other labs do not specialize in cannabis and therefore cannot always detect the pathogen eating your plant. While other labs are great at what they do, they don’t do cannabis! So we decided to take matters into our own hands. We now have a plant pathologist and microbiologist on staff to catalog all the pests and pathogens taking down our regional crop.

Since the cannabis plant has been so ostracized, no one else is doing this. DBS is changing that! We have been tasked with the role of pioneering the research needed to bring cannabis into the light of the 21st century. We have developed an integrated pest management system along with our organic nutrient management plans. These services specifically address the issues of crop failure and environmental degradation while optimizing organic cannabis crop production in Northern California.

Together these systems build strong healthy plants that can overcome the “sickness” and allow a plant to thrive even when there are pathogen spores lurking around every corner.

Emerald Triangle Fungus Trends in 2015

We have found several trends in pathogenic fungi on Cannabis crops this year. When we began this quest it was all about Fusarium oxysporum as it was popping up all over the county. We could tell just by looking at a plant that it had fusarium though we always confirmed that with an actual diagnosis from a pathologist. We began cataloguing symptoms within strains, growing conditions and seasons.

Turns out that as we delved deeper, we began finding fungal spores that were rarely, if ever, found on cannabis. Many people assumed everything was fusarium because that was the trend. Microbes evolve, adapt and flourish in new plant species every year. Since taking on the challenge, we have seen pathogens like Foma, Alternaria, and tobacco Mosaic Virus morph into strains that affect cannabis.

Building a Strong Growing Environment

Our goal is to help farmers plan ahead so in August their crops aren’t failing to pests and pathogens. Our prevention plans provide an alternative to toxic pesticide use as a means to solve the problem. We understand the dilemma between saving your crop and growing clean medicine when you find yourself in this very common predicament. We have saved people from losing from 10% to 100% of their crop using all organic means.

Pathogens exist everywhere, it’s learning to manage the environment around them so that they don’t find the “house” needed to grow and take over. The more knowledge we gain, the more awareness and prevention we offer our community. We have become a hub of scientific information for farmers who cannot just walk into their Ag Extension office for support. Our main goal is to bring science to the people and bridge the knowledge gap caused by the unnecessary prohibition of our beloved cannabis plant.


  1. Doesn’t address pathogens being used as weapons in the biowar between Syngenta, Monsanto, Bayer, etc. against local and unincorporated farmers.

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