Since growing hemp has been illegal for almost a full century, researchers have been unable to learn all of the benefits associated with it. Hemp is a distinct variety of the cannabis plant but it is not the same substance as marijuana. Although hemp is commonly associated with marijuana, it should not be.
Colorado has not only been at the forefront of the marijuana revolution through the state’s efforts to legalize recreational marijuana, but Colorado is also a leader in industrial hemp research. The University of Colorado Boulder has scientists studying industrial hemp for research purposes.
These efforts are being led by Nolan Kane, a geneticist who specializes in evolutionary biology. Kane studies cannabis from a unique perspective. He probes the plant’s DNA in an effort to map its genome.
What would the development of a genetic map do?
The research conducted by Kane and his lab has the potential to change world. A genetic map and other genomic tools developed by Kane and his group will enable researchers to understand which traits are inherited through each strain. This would improve the ability to develop strains specifically targeted to the treatment of certain illnesses.
If we are able to understand the science of cannabis and the importance of individual traits, we can develop specific products from it. Geneticists would be able to develop unique, specific strains that could treat conditions such as epilepsy, pain, or PTSD.
Kane’s face lights up with excitement when he discusses how hemp benefit so many industries. The benefits associated with hemp are endless. A number of products which are used by people every day can be created from hemp. These include paper, clothing, building materials, fuel and nutrition.
A $50 billion industry by 2026
The best part about growing hemp is the conditions which it can grow under. If you look at pictures of New York from the mid-1900s, hemp was growing everywhere. Hemp has multiple growing seasons and it can be grown in some of the toughest environments. Researches have estimated that the Florida hemp industry could be a $460 million dollar industry per year.
Technical420’s comprehensive industry report projects the industrial hemp industry to be a $50 billion industry by 2026 and $100 billion by 2030.
Imagine if you were able to know which plants could be combined to create a medicine that effectively treats Parkinson’s disease or glaucoma. It would be amazing. That is what Dr. Kane and his team are trying to accomplish and it could change the world.