Viral plant infections like Hop Latent Viroid, Lettuce Chlorosis Virus, and Cannabis Cryptic Virus are deeply destructive and commonplace. Contaminated crops appear discolored, furrowed, stunted, and breakable, losing 50 to 70% of THC content. To guarantee a strong yield, growers must take diligent steps and test all mothers and crops.
Hops Latent Viroid
Lettuce Chlorosis Virus
Cannabis Cryptic Virus
Common Reasons for Systemic Viral Infections
Like humans, hemp and cannabis contract viruses through contact with infected objects, plants, or animals. For instance, Lettuce Chlorosis Virus originated in lettuce plants, but the pathogen most often spreads to cannabis from infected sweet-potato whiteflies. Hop Latent Viroid spread to cannabis from compromised harvesting equipment, although the virus can also proliferate through cloning when growers accidentally take cuttings from infected mother plants. When it comes to Cannabis Cryptic Virus, evidence suggests it spreads mainly through pollen and seeds. Bottom line: cannabis viral exposure can come from various sources, making it challenging to prevent.
Preventing viral contamination is tough, but growers can take steps to mitigate risks. Viral prevention strategies include:
Testing early and often: Routinely test mother plants to screen for infections and spot test remaining plants as suspected throughout their lifecycles.
Strict sanitation measures: Ensuring all equipment and machinery are sterile before touching plants.
Pest control: Applying fungal and bacterial biological control agents to target pests known to transmit common cannabis viruses.
Quarantining: Isolating new additions or mother plants in a sterile environment before cloning and testing to be sure they’re healthy.
Why Test for Plant Infections
Cannabis viruses are extraordinarily damaging, causing issues like reduced trichomes, potency, and flower mass. Transmission is also increasingly common. For instance, data shows that hop latent viroid affects more than 30% of plants. That’s because viruses spread from various sources like tools, cuttings, insects, mother plants, and even compromised seeds. Worse, symptoms can remain dormant for long periods before growers realize their crops are sick. That’s why it’s essential to test early and often throughout the harvest regardless of whether the plant displays visible signs–a strong yield depends on it.
Virus Testing Compliance
Viral testing is not a compliance requirement for hemp or cannabis plants today. However, viral analyses are essential for plant health. All indoor and outdoor cultivators risk growing infected crops that can spread the disease to other plants. Then, once transmission occurs, only a lengthy tissue-culture process can produce new virus-free plants.