Whether you refer to your medicine as Medical Cannabis or Medical Marijuana, what you purchase from a licensed Utah pharmacy starts out as a plant grown somewhere in the state. Growers can produce plants with feminized seeds, crossbreed to varieties of plants, or use cloning of existing plants. It is this third option that tends to confuse people.
We talk to people all the time who want to know what cloning is and whether it produces better Medical Cannabis. Fortunately, the answers to both questions are pretty straightforward. Despite all we don’t know about this amazing plant, we do know a lot about cloning and its effect on plant characteristics.
Start a discussion about cloning and most people will begin imagining some sort of futuristic, sci-fi environment in which human beings are being cloned from single cells. Images of Star Wars: The Clone Wars might even pop into your head. But cloning cannabis plants is not so extravagant or cutting-edge and the real world. It is not even a new practice.
Cloning a Medical Cannabis plant is a simple as cutting a piece off an existing plant and putting it into a specialized growing medium in hopes of it taking root. Farmers have been practicing it for millennia. Your mother or grandmother may have done it years ago in order to grow new plants at home so that they didn’t have to buy them from the nursery on the other side of town.
It turns out that some plants respond better to cloning than others. Cannabis is one of those plants that does very well. That is good for growers because controlling quality when you are growing plants from feminized seeds isn’t so easy.
Maximizing the benefits of medical cannabis is all about concentrating cannabinoids and terpenes. This is done through a combination of good growing practices and hybridization. But again, getting the exact results you want from seeds is challenging. So as soon as a grower manages to produce an exceptionally strong plant, that plant can be separated out and used as a mother plant for cloning.
In essence, cloning gives growers the opportunity to better control quality and consistency. It makes it easier for them to consistently produce high-quality plants season after season. And of course, that leads to the question of whether cloning produces better medicine.
The quality of any cannabis plant is affected by lots of things. That’s why Medical Cannabis is grown predominantly in controlled environments. Growers do not just plant a field and forget about it. Most of the cultivation in Utah takes place indoors, where growers can control everything from humidity to temperature to light exposure. They can also keep pests away.
All of this is to say that growers go to great lengths to ensure quality. Cloning helps inasmuch as it takes most of the characteristic variation out of the equation. Imagine you produce a THC-heavy plant with a particular terpene profile. Once you are satisfied with the quality of the plant, you can start cloning it. You can also control its growing environment by keeping your operation indoors. With few external influences to harm the plant’s quality, you can maintain its characteristics.
In a nutshell, cloned cannabis is a plant grown from the cutting of a mother plant. It tends to produce better quality Medical Cannabis simply because desired characteristics can be maintained with each clone. As Utah growers get better at cloning, the quality of the state’s Medical Cannabis continues to improve. That is good for growers and patients alike.