With the current wave of marijuana legalization, we have seen exponential advancements in the science and technology of cannabis. Many dedicated researchers and cannabis enthusiasts have achieved significant breakthroughs regarding all aspects of this precious plant. Growers are always trying to find new and better ways of growing their crop, ensuring the highest quality products and greatest yields possible. This is where tissue culture propagation, which can be simply called “micropropagation”, comes into the picture.

WHAT IS TISSUE CULTURE PROPAGATION AKA MICROPROPAGATION?

In simple terms, micropropagation involves taking a very small piece of plant material known as the “explant” and placing it in a small, sterile container holding a special substance at the bottom. This allows the tiny plant material to sprout into a tiny plant. Now, why is this method likely going to replace conventional methods of cloning cannabis?

Growers want to fill their gardens with uniform genotypes for several reasons. They want all their plants to express the same characteristics to keep the chemical makeup of the buds as consistent as possible. In terms of logistics, growers want their plants to express the same physical traits so that they grow to a similar size, requiring the same nutrients and amount of light, etc. To create a plantation filled with the same genetics, growers use mother plants to take clones from. The problem with this method is that there’s a limited amount of clones that can be taken from the mother; she needs to be maintained with expert care, and she’s susceptible to mould and diseases over time.

With tissue culturing, tiny pieces of the mother plant can be taken and placed in a special nutrient-rich medium in small containers. After a short period of time, these small plant parts will grow and multiply, after which they can be cut and grown separately. This allows growers to clone the same genotype without the need to maintain mother plants.

Micropropagation Cannabis

PROS OF TISSUE CULTURE PROPAGATION

The small containers used for micropropagation don’t take up a lot of space, and plants are not susceptible to mould and disease like regular clones. This is because grower attention and sterile conditions limit exposure to pests and pathogens. Micropropagation provides a better alternative to cloning because one could place thousands of samples in a very small space, which requires minimum maintenance compared to conventional cloning methods where mother plants and clones require significant space and upkeep, which in turn requires a lot of energy and resources.

CONS OF TISSUE CULTURE PROPAGATION

The main downside of micropropagation is that it’s not something for your everyday small-scale grower. Micropropagation requires an extremely sterile environment, expertise, and total temperature, humidity, and light control. Even though it’s absolutely possible to do, it requires a lot of skill and knowledge. As such, developing clones from a mother plant might just be the easiest way of cloning for the novice. However, with time, cannabis technology will evolve and perhaps make it very manageable for average ganja-Joe’s to micropropagate their plants.

Micropropagation Cannabis

THE FUTURE

This technology does not only show promise for cannabis enthusiasts who strive for the highest quality weed possible, but for the human species in general. All kinds of plants can be micropropagated and selected based on their desired traits. Imagine making 10,000 copies of the most delicious pest and mould-resistant avocados in no time, and selecting the best out of these 10,000 to further strengthen the genetics. That would be absolutely groundbreaking, unless of course we start genetically modifying plants with great precision, which would completely change the nature of farming. Either way, micropropagation of cannabis is here, and it will likely be more prevalent in the future.

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