Summary: Researchers at Cornell University have discovered that cannabinoids produced by hemp plants could serve as a source of new natural pesticides. The study, conducted by the School of Integrative Plant Science at Cornell AgriTech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS), found that hemp leaves with higher concentrations of cannabinoids showed less damage from chewing insects.
Exploring the Use of Cannabinoids as Eco-Friendly Pesticides
The study, published in the journal Horticulture Research, explored the defensive properties of cannabinoids in hemp plants. Researchers observed that hemp varieties from a Ukrainian breeding program, which did not produce cannabinoids, were highly susceptible to damage from Japanese beetles. In contrast, hemp varietals producing cannabinoids were less prone to insect damage.
The research team, led by Larry Smart, a plant breeder and professor at CALS, isolated CBDA and CBGA for controlled insect feeding studies. They found that insect larvae grew less and had lower survival rates as the concentration of cannabinoids increased. However, THCA was not studied due to federal limits on THC in hemp crops.
This study provides insights into how cannabinoids function in natural systems and could help develop new THC-compliant hemp cultivars with natural defenses against herbivores. The researchers plan to investigate whether sap-sucking insects like aphids are also adversely affected by cannabinoids.
Despite the potential of cannabinoids as pesticides, regulatory barriers due to the pharmacological activity of these compounds may pose challenges. Further studies are needed to understand the effectiveness of cannabinoids against various pests.
Source: High Times
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