Science

Methyl Jasmonate

Tamir Bresler
Written by Tamir Bresler

Miracle Grow or Miracle Bust?

In every industry there are people who search for ways to get the most out of their product. In that sense, the cannabis industry is not unique. But because the cannabis industry is botanical and scientific in nature, there are some interesting ways to garner cross-applications from the scientific literature.

Queue recent studies on the volatile organic substance methyl jasmonate. It has been identified as one of the active ingredients in Jasmine oil, constituting 2-4% of the dry mass. When applied to plants, it creates a wide variety of effects which are thought to help the plant combat environmental and microbial stressors.

Dr. Roger Little, owner of CTA LLC, said in a recent talk at the 4th annual Emerald Conference that he saw a huge potential for transfer of knowledge in the application of methyl jasmonate. It is widely ubiquitous in plants and can stimulate cannabis plants to act as if they are under attack, causing them to increase cannabinoid content as a defense mechanism.

It can also, interestingly, increase secretion of resin. Since the trichomes in cannabis buds also produce resin-like substances, it is thought that methyl jasmonate can in turn increase the cannabinoid content in cannabis plants treated with a solution of methyl jasmonate and geribellin, another a plant growth hormone.

Indeed, a simple Google search of “methyl jasmonate + cannabinoids” reveal a slew of mostly opinion-based, P2P blogs of cannabis cultivators sharing this unique discovery and reporting what they’ve found.

However, to date, the scientific community has not weighed in on the addition of this molecule to one’s cultivation. While increasing the cannabinoid content might be a possible outcome of methyl jasmonate cannabis applications, no controlled studies have demonstrated this effect.

This leaves the situation in fairly precarious hands. On one side, there is great interest in this industry to preserve plant identity as much as possible and use natural products. On the other hand, applying an active ingredient without sufficient evidence does run the risk of some unknown, potentially serious side effects. Deciding whether or not methyl jasmonate applications are appropriate entirely depends on your risk tolerance and exploratory spirit.

So, the jury is still out on using methyl jasmonates as a way to increase cannabinoid content in cannabis plants. Discoveries like this, however, are the fuel for scientific fires. Surely, before long, some entrepreneurial scientist will see the potential in the synergizing of these products and get the proof we need to justify its use.

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Tamir Bresler

Tamir Bresler

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