USDA Approves New THC-Free Hemp Strain

By | Updated on October 22, 2023

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The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has given the green light to a new genetically modified hemp strain that’s low in THC.

Developed by Growing Together Research (GTR), an Indiana-based biotech company, this new hemp variety has a unique feature: it contains virtually no THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). It also has low levels of the minor cannabinoid cannabichromene (CBC).

For hemp farmers, this is a game-changer, as hemp exceeding the legal limit of 0.3% THC must be destroyed. According to GTR, 10 percent of all hemp grown in the US between 2018 and 2020 had to be disposed of due to THC levels surpassing the legal threshold. GTR’s innovation promises to eliminate this problem.

In their September 2023 media release, the USDA stated that GTR’s modified hemp plant was unlikely to pose an increased plant pest risk compared to conventional hemp, which means it’s safe to grow and breed in the United States.

This is a positive development for the CBD and hemp industries, potentially leading to reduced production costs and a more diversified range of products and opportunities for hemp growers, CBD product manufacturers, and consumers. 

For example, the new hemp strain can be used as the starting point for broad-spectrum hemp extracts, which contain the full range of hemp’s beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes but with virtually zero THC. Right now, CBD product manufacturers must do additional processing to remove THC from hemp extracts.

Interestingly enough, GTR is also working on creating a high-THC variety of cannabis they refer to as the “Delta-9 Dial.” This development promises to be a significant leap forward in the stable gene editing of cannabis.

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