TÜBİTAK Marmara Research Center (MAM) conducts studies for further decreasing the Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC/Marijuana) rate in domestic cannabis species. The project that aims to silence the THC synthesizing enzyme genetically will allow farmers to grow cannabis plant with no concern for marijuana conversion.

THC synthesis is a mechanism highly impacted by climatic conditions. Thus, even the seeds of the same type of cannabis plant could have different rates of THC content when grown in provinces with different climatic conditions. In order to grow cannabis plant in open fields, the THC content must be lower than legally defined limits.

The ongoing “Cannabis Project” aims to decrease the THC content of cannabis plant by biotechnological methods and keep the rate stable without being affected by climatic conditions.

New plants are developed from the DNA-modified cannabis plant leaves

Assoc. Prof. Selma ONARICI conducting studies on plant molecular genetics at TÜBİTAK MAM Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Institute (GMBE) stated, in her interview with Atlas Magazine, “The molecular tools to make the desired changes in cannabis DNA are firstly designed within rapidly growing bacteria.  When the studies reach a certain phase, these bacteria are given to the plant; in other words, the plant is made infected with the bacteria.  So, the desired DNA region enters the DNA of the plant. The studies in TÜBİTAK MAM are exactly at this stage. When the plant grows, it will be checked for the availability of THC and for the activities of all other genes. We aim to keep all the characteristics of the plant while blocking conversion into marijuana. So, it will be possible to grow the said cannabis plant species in open fields with no security concerns.”

Cannabis Plant Has A Wide Range of Use

Industrial cannabis plant can be used as raw material in over 25.000 products. It is a valuable raw material for food, health, feed, textile, construction, automotive, bioenergy, bio-composite and bioplastic industries. Owing to the possibility of turning into valuable products from its roots to its seeds, the cannabis is a plant suitable for the provisions of both the zero-waste project and the European Green Deal. Revitalization of the cannabis plant sector, which used to prevail in Turkey, with new cannabis species to be improved is of great importance in economic terms.


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