Tuesday, September 20, 2005

'sativa', 'indica', and now 'rasta': DNA researchers discover new cannabis strain

AUSTRALIAN researchers have discovered a third strain of cannabis, and given it the name 'rasta' after checking the DNA of plants taken from all over the world. They have also discovered that 'Rasta' produces higher levels of THC than the commonly known 'Indica' or 'Sativa' strains, which until now were thought to be the only ones in existence.

The scientists have called the new strain 'rasta' presumably because it is found in Jamaica as well as Africa, Mexico, south-east Asia and India. Their research showed that 'Sativa' is most common in Western Europe while 'Indica' is mainly found in central Asia.

According to the New Scientist the research involved catagorising 196 sample plants according to the DNA in their mitochondria and chloroplasts. The samples included plants grown for drugs and hemp as well as wild varieties from Europe, Asia, Africa, Mexico and Jamaica.

Researcher Simon Gilmore of the 'Canberra Institute of Technology' is quoted with a fascinating theory: "What we might be uncovering is really an ancient relationship," he said.

"Cannabis has been used a lot by humans in the last few thousand years and while we have a signature that there might have been three different types of cannabis, what could have happened with human cross-breeding [is] that those distinctions could have been lost by now.

"Three different mitochondrial DNA types in the cannabis that's grown these days, it might imply that cannabis had been domesticated on three separate occasions.

"It seems the first use was for food - cannabis seeds are highly nutritious apparently but not all that tasty."

Sadly, the main aim of the research was to find markers to help police forensic scientists track the origins of illegal cannabis. Shame on you Mr Gilmore!

We would also like to point out that Mr Gilmore has obviously not extended his research to eating organic hemp seeds which are very tasty indeed.


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