Production of medical cannabis is the fastest growing agri-biotech industry in British Columbia and Canada. A major issue for the industry is access to well-defined cannabis varieties with supporting scientific information on their quality traits. Such varieties will be critical for standardized cannabis production. Currently, much of the industry uses less well-defined “strains”, which often have great variation in their chemical composition of the cannabis resin.

In total, over 500 different small molecules contribute to cannabis resin. The majority of these small molecules are the terpenes and cannabinoids, which together define the unique pharmacological and sensory properties of different cannabis products.

The need of the cannabis industry for well-defined varieties is similar to the wine industry, where consistency of high-quality products also depends on varieties with predictable metabolite profiles.

This project will deliver critical information and tools to support the development of cannabis varieties with focus on small molecules, in particular the terpenes. It will also deliver methods, new standards and reference metabolite profiles for cannabis terpenes, which are of critical importance for testing labs and licensed producers in a regulated cannabis industry.

The project is in active partnerships with Anandia Laboratories Inc. and University of British Columbia, and support from Genome British Columbia.