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Hemp- Propagation of Cannabis for Clinical Research: An Approach Towards a Modern Herbal Medicinal Products Development

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Suman Chandra1Hemant Lata1 and Mahmoud A. ElSohly1,2*

  • 1National Center for Natural Products Research, School of Pharmacy, University of Mississippi, Oxford, MS, United States
  • 2Department of Pharmaceutics and Drug Delivery, School of Pharmacy, University of Mississippi, Oxford, MS, United States

Cannabis has been reported to contain over 560 different compounds, out of which 120 are cannabinoids. Among the cannabinoids, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol are the two major compounds with very different pharmacological profile and a tremendous therapeutic potential. However, there are many challenges in bringing cannabis from grow-farms to pharmaceuticals. Among many, one important challenge is to maintain the supply chain of biomass, which is consistent in its cannabinoids profile. To maintain this process, male plants are removed from growing fields as they appear. Even with that practice, still there are fair chances of cross fertilization. Therefore, controlled indoor cultivation for screening, selection of high yielding female plants based on their cannabinoids profile, and their conservation and multiplication using vegetative propagation and/or micropropagation is a suitable path to ensure consistency in biomass material. In this chapter, the botany and propagation of elite cannabis varieties will be discussed.

Introduction

For thousands of years, cannabis is being cultivated to be used in day today need such as food, medicine, oil, textile fiber etc. The origin of this plant can be tracked back in China, wherefrom the plant made its way to the rest of the world.

Traditionally, the plant cannabis has been used to treat a wide variety of ailments such as asthma, epilepsy, fatigue, glaucoma, pain, and rheumatism (Mechoulam et al., 1976Zuardi, 2006). Cannabis derivatives have also been reported to help in HIV/AIDS and multiple sclerosis (Pryce and Baker, 2005Abrams et al., 2007). Cannabis sativa is the natural source of cannabinoids and Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) is the primary psychoactive agent. This compound is produced as an acid (Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, Δ9-THCA, Figure 1) in plant and undergoes decarboxylation with age or heating to form Δ9-THC. The other interesting compound in cannabis is cannabidiol (CBD, Figure 1), which is a non-psychoactive compound and reported to be useful in the treatment of seizures and epilepsy, specifically for the intractable pediatric epilepsy (Mechoulam and Carlini, 1978Cunha et al., 1980).

Reference:

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpls.2020.00958/full

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