Solutions for New Diseases Affecting Cannabis

Written by Lydia Kariuki

Large-scale cultivation of Cannabis sativa has presented unique challenges and opportunities. A major challenge is the emergence of previously unreported pathogens. Adequate measures need to be put in place to identify these pathogens and mitigate their spread.

A researcher from Simon Fraser University in Canada has carried out a review to investigate important diseases affecting C. sativa in North America and what can be done to mitigate their spread. [1] The results were published in Pest Management Science in February 2021. Below are important highlights from the review.

Sustainable Practices for Disease Management

From the review, it emerged that certain practices are essential for disease management in C. sativa. In summary, this includes the following:

  • The use of uncontaminated planting stock
  • Maintaining optimum humidity and temperature conditions
  • Preventing injury to the roots
  • Modification of environmental conditions to prevent pathogen transmission
  • Improved sanitation
  • Use of fungal and bacterial biological control measures

Cannabis and hemp are at risk for being attacked by insects and disease-causing microbial agents on the buds, leaves, and roots. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is commonly used to identify disease-causing pathogens.

The table below summarizes some of the findings of the review, namely emerging pathogens between the period of 2017-2020 and the best management practices in an indoor setup. Most are fungi and molds although viruses also pose a threat.

About the author

Lydia Kariuki

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