Colombia's been on the grind for the past two years (2020-2021), trying to legalize adult-use cannabis. But man, it's been a journey with its fair share of roadblocks, even with some conservative parties backing it up. Right now, the country's cool with folks having a personal stash, capped at twenty (20) grams of flower and five (5) grams of hash. Growing? You can have up to 20 plants, but you gotta get the nod from the National Narcotics Council, and stay within those limits.
Now, here's a fun fact: Colombia's home to about 1,200 cannabis strains, according to the Colombian Agricultural Institute (ICA). But here's the kicker: most consumers and growers don't really know what kind of ganja they've got or how much cannabinoids it's packing. That's why some sharp minds from the National University decided to roll up their sleeves and get to the bottom of what kind of herb is being grown and smoked in the country.
So far, the team's checked out around 360 samples, and guess what? None of them matched the info on the labels sent over to the university's Biology Department. That means growers and tokers don't really know what they're planting or puffing. Juan David Romero, the brainchild behind this project and backed by Professor Felipe Sarmiento, is leading this group of biologists in uncovering this cannabis genetic info gap.
Right now, they're teaming up with a company called "La Santa Botánica" to dissect 20 cannabis strains. They've found some with a hefty dose of THC, that magic molecule with anti-cancer properties. They've also pinpointed strains rich in CBD, the wonder molecule used for conditions like epilepsy, Parkinson's, schizophrenia, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, anxiety, and even hemp varieties.
Thanks to Romero's crew, they're getting better at telling apart different cannabis strains. This global issue of not really knowing your weed? They're tackling it head-on, using tools that help organize plant info and toss out any misleading label details.
Romero breaks it down: with these tests, they can spot cannabis genes early on, figuring out if the plant's got that THC or CBD gene. This means growers can make smarter choices about what they're growing, and businesses can stay on the right side of regulations.
This Colombian project? It's leading the charge in Latin America, all happening in a state-of-the-art lab. The goal? Help growers, business folks, and scholars understand their cannabis strains, spot THC and CBD genes, and see what genetic mutations mean for the plant.
In a nutshell, this project's all about fixing the cannabis info gap in Colombia and giving growers and industry peeps the lowdown they need. Being able to genetically ID cannabis strains? That's a win for the industry and society at large. As for the cost of these tests, it's $76,000 pesos for genotyping one gene and $390,000 pesos for the full package, which includes genotyping, sequencing, and bioinformatics analysis of two THC and CBD genes.