GROWING FOR MAX THC WAS NOT BEST OPTION FOR MEDICAL USES
Are you getting the absolute best from your plants with your current setup? A recent study from Israeli cannabis science group, the Volcani Center, has suggested that the end product of your plant is highly influenced by the lighting setup used during their life cycle. This sounds relatively straight forward until you see studies like this demonstrating that the big and tasty, THC rich buds grown under a traditional LED setup are not always the best for medicinal users! In fact, the setup that was most effective at creating the best flowers for killing human cancer cells had the lowest concentration of cannabinoids and terpenoids and did not use LED lights during the flowering stage.
LED LIGHTS ENCOURAGE MORE THC
Two strains of cannabis were flowered under three different lighting conditions: with traditional fluorescent bulbs, with high-pressure sodium bulbs (HPS), and with the standard LED setup that is hallmark to most grow ops. Plants were followed from vegetation to flowering and allowed to flower for 35 days. Both strains were analyzed for cannabinoid, terpenoid, and alkaloid content at 14 and 35 days. Unsurprisingly, LED lights during the flowering stage produced the highest concentration of cannabinoids and THCA (which means higher THC!) but most intriguing is that the plants flowered under HPS lights had a REDUCED amount of cannabinoids and terpenoids yet a HIGHER capacity to killing cancerous cells (2x more potent)!
HPS HAD LESS CANNABINOIDS AND GREATER CANCER KILLING ABILITY
This wasn’t demonstrated with just one cancer cell line but three (a colon, a brain, and a breast cancer)! Additionally, this group tested the killing effects of purified THC which was just not able to live up to the abilities of the HPS grown strain in two of the cancers. This phenomenon is called the entourage effect and it is the observation that the whole cannabis-extract is able to work better than an isolated cannabinoid, this is due to the bioactive compounds in cannabis working synergistically.
This is why these papers from Israel are so fascinating, they actually give us an insight into how cannabis strains differ in human models and sometimes leave us more puzzled than when we first started reading. So what seems to be going on? Hard to tell but we know for certain that the strain flowered under HPS light (the cancer killer) had higher amounts of CBGA and a LOWER concentration of cannabinoids, terpenoids, and alkaloids. While its concentration of terpenoids is most similar to that of the other strains, its cannabinoid content is reduced by almost half of the LED flowered strain giving us further evidence that it is not always how much you’ve got but what’s inside!
So what’s most desirable for your strains and your grow-op? Well the shortest answer is optimization is key and every strain may have ideal conditions that need to be tinkered with. Are you growing for terpenes and need to harvest at 14 days when terpene content is most abundant? Maybe you want the medicinal effects to be most pronounced like our HPS cancer-killer. Or perhaps it’s for a recreational market and you want to maximize the THC or CBD values. Maybe you’re growing to minimize diversity in the number of cannabinoids and terpenoids while maintaining high levels of THC. The possibilities seem endless so get smart now and optimize.
For more information like changes in size and mass of the buds, and a look at the other cancer screenings, take a look at the study!