FAQ Page2023-12-27T14:20:59-06:00

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

NEW WEST GENETICS’ PRODUCTS

Can I buy seed from you?2023-10-10T10:12:18-06:00

Yes! We currently sell multi-purpose grain-forward and fiber-forward varieties in the NWG ABOUND® family. Our genetics are specialty-bred for mechanical production and are best suited for large-scale production. Best for producers with farm equipment for row cropping: order here

What is certified seed?2023-10-31T13:08:19-06:00
Certified seed has been grown according to AOSCA Standards to maintain genetic purity.  A seed certifying agency works closely with seed growers to help them follow AOSCA Standards throughout the production process.  AOSCA Standards apply to hemp and a wide range of field crops, turf grasses, fruits, vegetables, woody plants, forbs and vegetatively propagated species available for sale. Seed lots that complete the seed certification process qualify for the official “Blue” Certified seed tag, assuring the seed customer that the seed meets genetic and varietal purity standards.
 
Seed Certification is not a one-and-done process. 
Every seed lot is individually produced according to AOSCA Standards and inspected to earn a Certified seed tag or label. Before planting each season, the seed grower applies to their local seed certifying agency to indicate they will plant and reproduce the pure seed of a recognized variety.  The agency inspects the field during the growing season to confirm that the plants are uniform and true to type for that variety, and the seed grower uses good management practices to ensure purity is maintained from planting to seed conditioning and packaging.
Why are certified seeds better?2023-10-31T13:26:07-06:00
AOSCA seed certification provides growers with third-party verification that a seed is a genetically pure variety professionally produced to give the highest quality seed possible and will perform as labeled. States have a Seed Growers or Crop Improvement Association that collaborates with the state department of agriculture or the agriculture university to test and validate that THC is stable and below 0.3% and the seed is inspected and certified according to AOSCA standards. These are two separate processes. Just because a seed demonstrates THC compliance does NOT mean it is also certified seed, or vice versa. Be sure to look for both the 3rd party validation of THC and Certified Seed Tags.
Currently, New West Genetics offers ABOUND®, a family of dioecious grain varieties certified and validated as having compliant, stable THC levels by multiple state Departments of Agriculture. See variety descriptions here.
Does NWG make autoflower genetics?2023-10-10T10:05:59-06:00

The term autoflower is a Cannabis-specific term defining genotypes insensitive to photoperiod (e.g., day length). Photoperiod-insensitive genetics do not require shortening day lengths to initiate flowering. It is common for “autoflower” advertisements to specify the number of days to flowering and maturity, some in as few as 60 days. However, this is a bit oversimplified as plants use several environmental cues to initiate flowering, including temperature, water availability, and the metabolic state of the plant. These factors can be controlled in indoor production so a crop’s lifecycle can be precisely estimated, but this is obviously not the case under outdoor conditions. The term autoflower should generally refer to genotypes that can flower under increasing day lengths, a characteristic that NWG cultivars possess.

What is feminized seed and does NWG make feminized seed?2023-10-10T10:42:20-06:00
Feminized seed is just as it sounds, a seed lot that produces predominantly female plants through chemical induction. A higher proportion of female plants is desirable since females are the source of almost all the economically significant products, whether seed or flower. 
 
Feminized seed is created by inducing female plants to become hermaphrodites by applying chemicals like silver thiosulfate (Lubell and Brand, 2018). Hermaphrodite plants have female flowers, which accept pollen to create seeds, and male flowers, which release pollen. The theory is that chemically induced pollen produced on a female plant contains the female sex chromosome (X chromosome) rather than the male (Y chromosome). Thus, the progeny seed created by pollination with a hermaphrodite will inherit an X chromosome from the pollen and an X chromosome from the ovum of the female flower. The resulting seeds will be primarily females, but there is not yet a method that consistently produces 100% females. This has implications for production using feminized seed (see the Agronomy section of our website).

The most significant handicap of feminized seed is chemical feminization – it makes no further seed to multiply. Therefore, it must be reproduced season by season; it’s not scalable. Chemical induction of feminized seed is most appropriate for horticultural, craft-style production of flower products.

What does the term “dioecious” mean?2023-10-10T10:46:09-06:00

dioecious plant is one where the male and female reproductive systems occur on separate plants. While both plants produce flowers, one plant has male reproductive parts, and the other has female parts. This is unlike a monoecious plant, which has both male and female flowers on the same plant.

Does NWG only produce dioecious varieties?2023-10-10T10:53:45-06:00

NWG’s first products to market are dioecious varieties in the ABOUND family. NWG has also released the first hemp hybrid in the form of the AMPLIFY™ trait. Hemp is ancestrally dioecious, meaning male and female flowers are found on separate plants. NWG has created a genetically skewed ratio of male: female from its ancestral 50:50, up to 100% female, in effect doubling hemp grain and flower production.

WHAT IS NEW WEST GENETICS?

What does New West Genetics sell?2023-10-10T10:57:55-06:00

NWG is an innovative breeding and genetics company that creates premium hemp seed for processing partners and farmers. We sell high-quality US-bred hemp seed genetics adapted to current market needs and offer licensing of traits and varieties to international partners.

What markets do you serve?2023-10-10T11:07:03-06:00

New West Genetics serves the food, feed, fuel, and fiber markets.

What regulatory agency are you certified by?2023-10-10T11:13:49-06:00

In compliance with the 2014 Federal Farm Bill section 7606, we are registered and licensed with the applicable state departments of agriculture and international agricultural regulatory agencies. NWG Seed lots are certified with AOSCA, state departments of agriculture, and international certifying agencies like Health Canada.

PLANT GENETICS

What is a variety?2023-10-10T12:57:57-06:00
Fun fact! The term has two applications – the botanical term variety and the legal term variety. The botanical term variety is essentially a taxonomic label – it refers to the rank in the botanical hierarchy – a variety occupies the space below sub-species but above sub-variety.
 
As a legal term, variety means following the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) Convention. For plant breeders’ rights to be granted, the new variety must meet four criteria under the rules established by UPOV.
  • The new plant must be novel, meaning it must not have been previously marketed in the country where rights are applied.
  • The new plant must be distinct from other available varieties.
  • The plants must display homogeneity (uniformity of the stand).
  • The trait or traits unique to the new variety must be stable to keep the plant true to type after repeated propagation cycles.
What should I look for when buying seed genetics?2023-10-10T11:34:12-06:00
  1. Well-packaged, clean seed with a label that conforms to federal law.
  2. Get to know the company. Outlandish claims like 100% feminization, 100% germination, and extremely high or low cannabinoid content should be validated by respectable 3rd party data.
  3. Proof of stability: Stability means the variety has performed consistently for several generations. Asking for current and parent seed data can help determine if the genetics are stable. Stability is essential for THC content. Well-bred seed should have compliant THC content across at least 2-3 generations.
  4. AOSCA certified seed: This is 3rd third-party validation that the seed has been grown according to AOSCA Standards to maintain genetic purity. Seed lots that complete the seed certification process qualify for the official “Blue” Certified seed tag.
  5. Seed that has been bred for your production methods and equipment.
  6. Seed that has demonstrated performance in your region or has been bred using data-based breeding.
  7. Understand the market the variety serves. Identify customers for your crop before you plant.
Don’t plant varieties perform differently depending on where they are grown?2023-10-10T12:02:31-06:00

Yes, it’s true! Source seed that has been bred in your region or your specific climate. Alternatively, look for seed bred at your latitude, as the latitudinal gradient is especially important in this species. Though major traits should remain stable, variety performance will vary slightly within a region, especially yield. Importantly, cannabinoid content will not have significant variances, as it is primarily controlled by genetics, not by environment. See FAQ below – What do we know about Cannabinoids? NWG demonstrates this consistently by producing ABOUND seed across regions and can provide third party testing from Departments of Ag.

What is the difference between a “variety” or “cultivar” and a “strain”?2023-12-27T14:19:02-06:00
In botanical terms, all three are generally defined as a group of offspring descended from a common ancestor with common morphological and physiological characteristics. In cannabis, there is an unofficial distinction.
 
A cannabis strain can be defined as a group of plants created asexually through clonal propagation. This is the most common form of plant production in the cannabis industry. Clones, by definition, are nearly identical genetically except for random mutations during plant cell division in the development of the “mother plant” (the plant from which a population of clones is generated). Mutations are almost always deleterious. A mother plant creates a finite number of progeny, so the maintenance of a strain requires cloning from the progeny of the original mother. Mutations accumulate with each successive generation so that, eventually, clone quality (e.g., cannabinoid profile.) deteriorates to the point that the strain is abandoned. Some may refer to this mutational load as genetic drift, but this is a misnomer.
 
A cannabis variety (or cultivar) can be defined as a group of plants created sexually through seed propagation. The seeds of selected plants (those expressing the characteristic of interest) are used for planting the following generation. Mutations undoubtedly occur during sexual reproduction, but they only impact a single individual, which the breeder can remove from the population. As soon as an individual carrying a mutation is used as a mother plant, all derived progeny will inherit the mutation.
 
 

CANNABINOIDS

What do we know about Cannabinoids?2023-10-10T13:22:42-06:00

Cannabinoids are a subset of terpenophenolics unique to the species C. sativa. There are 80+ known cannabinoids in C. Sativa (Flores-Sanchez and Verpoorte 2008), with the most abundant being Δ9 THC (Δ9 Tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD (Cannabidiol) and CBN (Cannabinol). Several genes controlling these compounds’ biosynthesis from a CBG (Cannabigerol) precursor have been identified (Taura et al. 1996). The amount and type of cannabinoids produced are influenced by both genetic variation among C. sativa plants and environmental conditions (Toth et al. 2021) and (Woods et al. 2021). Cannabinoids are at the highest concentration in the plant’s glandular trichomes; therefore, genes controlling trichome development will also influence the amount of cannabinoids a given plant produces.

What peer-reviewed research is there about the Endocannabinoid system?2023-10-10T13:28:45-06:00

In 1988, Devane et al. reported the existence of cannabinoid-binding sites in the human brain. This CB1 receptor was cloned in 1990 and identified as part of the family of G protein-coupled receptors. A second cannabinoid receptor, CB2, was discovered in 1993 (Munro et al. 1993). We now know these two cannabinoid receptors exist in all chordates and evolved hundreds of millions of years ago (Pertwee et al. 2010). The presence of these receptors implies that humans (and other chordates) produce their own compounds that bind to these receptors. Two such endogenous or endocannabinoids have been discovered and characterized. There is currently an ongoing effort to understand which cannabinoids affect which neuropathways; this involves a tremendous team of professionals from multiple disciplines in science.

Why bother learning about the Biochemical Genetics of Cannabinoids?2023-10-10T13:32:24-06:00
Identifying which cannabinoids affect which neuropathways takes a tremendous team of professionals from multiple disciplines in science. The ability to use marker-assisted breeding expedites this research and pinpoints the pathways desired for selection with certainty. This will make medicinal solutions more stable and predictable for product makers and consumers. New West Genetics has developed the knowledge to move Cannabis sativa’s potential into a data-based reality.
Is there a difference between CBD sourced from hemp, and CBD sourced from marijuana?2023-10-10T13:44:14-06:00
No, CBD (cannabidiol) is a compound defined by its chemical characteristics distinguishing it from all other compounds in the physical universe. Any suggestion that CBD derived from hemp is different from that of marijuana is false. This would be akin to suggesting that calcium derived from a cow’s milk is different from that of a goat. It is less contentious since hemp and marijuana are slight variants of the same species.
 
The final CBD extract from a hemp cultivar may indeed differ from that of a marijuana strain for features such as terpene and cannabinoid profile. However, these characteristics will also distinguish different strains of marijuana since they have been selected for other attributes (e.g., %THC). There is no reason that a hemp variety could not create a CBD extract identical to that of marijuana, differentiated only by its low THC content.  The quality of marijuana or hemp may vary, but the essential compound of CBD remains.

 

 

Cannabinoids can never be stable because they will vary depending on environment, right?2023-10-31T13:53:14-06:00
Environment indeed plays a role in many plant traits. With some traits, it plays a more significant role, and some a more minor role. Scientists call this “G by E” or genetics by environment. University research shows cannabinoid pathways are primarily controlled by genetics – over 80%, and the environment influences the remaining 20%. This is excellent news! Stable cannabinoid profiles across regions are absolutely attainable in well-bred varieties, as evidenced by many EU and Canadian varieties. The variation seen in the current market is likely due to poorly bred genetics.
 
Like any plant species, the best seed is well-bred to adapt to your region and climate. Though major traits will remain stable, variety performance will vary slightly within a region. Importantly, cannabinoid content should not have significant variances.
How do you measure CBD content?2023-10-31T13:57:23-06:00

Flower samples are prepared and submitted POST THRESH, which means the material we test is dried and mechanically threshed, not flower that has been trimmed and gingerly handled. We submit at least ten samples of post-threshed flower each season and select one that is most representative of the average content. Average content post-thresh is a critical factor for large-scale production.

 

Compliance2023-12-27T14:32:45-06:00

NWG takes compliance with regulations seriously. Thus, we stabilize and lower the THC content of our genetics well below the federal mandate of 0.3%. In order to accomplish this, we investigated the THC pathway to enable genomic control of the trait. We are proud to say we have done so and can now use genetic markers to easily select against the pathway in our early breeding.

GMO/GE

Is NWG creating GMO hemp?2023-10-31T14:00:37-06:00

No, NWG uses traditional plant breeding techniques to create varieties adapted to production in the United States. However, we are incorporating modern sequencing technology and statistical genetic methods to speed up development. This approach allows us to make more informed decisions, thus minimizing the time to market for improved varieties. Ultimately, all stakeholders in the supply chain benefit from higher-yielding hemp carrying value-added traits.

But I heard everyone, and their mother is making GMO hemp?2023-10-31T14:08:12-06:00

There is no published, reproducible transformation system for getting transgenic events into Cannabis. Some have claimed to have successfully created transgenic Cannabis, but this has yet to be validated independently. More product manufacturers are seeking verification from the non-GMO Project, so the motivation to develop new, transgenic-based products is waning. This is particularly true given that the creation and deregulation of a transgenic event is, on average, a lengthy 13-year regulatory process with costs exceeding $100M. However, there is value in utilizing transgenic tools to validate gene function within the R&D setting.

What about Genetic editing (GE) techniques?2023-10-31T14:33:57-06:00

There are many editing targets of interest in cannabis, including some editing events involving other crops and vegetables. The regulatory path for GE crops is unclear, but it is costly. Many of the GE systems require a transformation system and suffer from the same methodological limitations of transgenics. Even GE systems, which do not require a transgenic delivery system, require a reliable method for generating plants from protoplasts, which is also not a reality today.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the freedom to operate with CRISPR-Cas and other editing methods is uncertain due to litigation around the foundational patents.

CITATIONS AND RELEVANT CANNABIS SATIVA RESEARCH

Atakan Z. Cannabis, a complex plant: different compounds and different effects on individuals. Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology. 2012;2(6):241-254. doi:10.1177/2045125312457586.

Bielecka M, Kaminski F, Adams I, Poulson H, Sloan R, Li Y, Larson TR, Winzer T, Graham IA. Targeted mutation of Δ12 and Δ15 desaturase genes in hemp produce major alterations in seed fatty acid composition including a high oleic hemp oil. Plant Biotechnology J. 2014 Feb 10.

Bócsa I, Mathé P, Hangyel L. (1997) Effect of nitrogen on N tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content in hemp (Cannabis sativa) L.) leaves at different positions. J. Int. Hemp Assoc. 4: 80–81.

Clarke RC (1981) Marijuana Botany: An Advanced Study: The Propagation and Breeding of Distinctive Cannabis. Ronin, Berkley CA

Etienne P. M. de Meijer, Manuela Bagatta, Andrea Carboni, Paola Crucitti,
V. M. Cristiana Moliterni, Paolo Ranalli and Giuseppe Mandolino (2003) The Inheritance of Chemical Phenotype in Cannabis sativa L. Genetics 163: 335–346

Flores-Sanchez IJ, Verpoorte R. PKS activities and biosynthesis of cannabinoids and flavonoids in Cannabis sativa L. plants. Plant Cell Physiol. 2008 Dec;49(12):1767-82.

Flores-Sanchez IJ, Choi YH, Verpoorte R. Metabolite analysis of Cannabis sativa L. by NMR spectroscopy. Methods Mol Biol. 2012; 815:363-75.

Gadzicki D, Müller-Vahl K, Stuhrmann M. A frequent polymorphism in the coding exon of the human cannabinoid receptor (CNR1) gene. Mol Cell Probes. 1999 Aug;13(4):321-3.

Harm van Bakel, Jake M Stout, Atina G Cote, Carling M Tallon, Andrew G Sharpe, Timothy R Hughes and Jonathan E Page (2011) The draft genome and transcriptome of Cannabis sativa. Genome Biology 2011, 12:R102

Johnson, Renee (2012) Congressional Research Service Hemp as an Agricultural Commodity, a report prepared for Congress -RL 32725

Kreitzer FR, Stella N. The therapeutic potential of novel cannabinoid receptors. Pharmacol Ther. 2009 May;122(2):83-96.

Lubell JD, Brand M (2018). Foliar sprays of silver thiosulfate produce male flowers and female hemp plants. HortTechnology. 28(6): 743-747

Lydon JA, Teramuraand H, Coffman CB (1987) UV-B radiation effects on photosynthesis, growth and cannabinoid production of two Cannabis sativa chemotypes. Photochem. Photobiol. 46: 201-206.

Mechtler K, Bailer J, de Hueber K (2004) Variations in ∆9-THC content in single plants of hemp varieties. Ind. Crop Prod. 19: 19-24.

Miller LK, Devi LA. The highs and lows of cannabinoid receptor expression in disease: mechanisms and their therapeutic implications. Pharmacology Rev. 2011 Sep;63(3):461-70.

Montford S, Small E (1999). A comparison of biodiversity friendly crops with special reference to hemp (Cannabis sativa L.). J. Int. Hemp Assoc. 8: 533-63.

Munro S, Thomas KL, Abu-Shaar M. Molecular characterization of a peripheral receptor for cannabinoids. Nature. 1993 Sep 2; 365(6441):61-5.

Pertwee RG, Howlett AC, Abood ME, Alexander SP, Di Marzo V, Elphick MR, Greasley PJ, Hansen HS, Kunos G, Mackie K, Mechoulam R, Ross RA. International Union of Basic and Clinical Pharmacology. LXXIX. Cannabinoid receptors and their ligands: beyond CB₁ and CB₂. Pharmacology Rev. 2010 Dec;62(4):588-631.

Shannon L. Datwyler Ph.D. and George D. Weiblen Ph.D. Genetic Variation in Hemp and Marijuana (Cannabis sativa L.) According to Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphisms. (2006) Journal of Forensic Sciences 51: 371–375

Small E, Marcus D (2002) Hemp: a new crop with uses for North America*. ASHS Press, Alexandria VA.

Staginnus C, Zörntlein S, de Meijer E. A PCR marker Linked to a THCA synthase Polymorphism is a Reliable Tool to Discriminate Potentially THC-Rich Plants of Cannabis sativa L. J Forensic Sci. 2014 Mar 3..

Taura F, Morimoto S, Shoyama Y. Purification and characterization of cannabidiolic-acid synthase from Cannabis sativa L.. Biochemical analysis of a novel enzyme that catalyzes the oxidocyclization of cannabigerolic acid to cannabidiolic acid. J Biol Chem. 1996 Jul 19;271(29):17411-6.

Tholl, 2006, “Terpene synthases and the regulation, diversity and biological roles of terpene metabolism”, Current Opinion in Plant Biology 9 (3): 297-304)

Toth, J. A.Smart, L. B.Smart, C. D.Stack, G. M.Carlson, C. H.Philippe, G., & Rose, J. K. C. (2021). Limited effect of environmental stress on cannabinoid profiles in high-cannabidiol hemp (Cannabis sativa L.)GCB Bioenergy1316661674https://doi.org/10.1111/gcbb.12880

US Farm Bill: Agricultural Act of 2014 H.R. 2642 http://naihc.org/images/stories/farmbill_ih.pdf

Van Bakel H, Stout JM, Cote AG, Tallon CM, Sharpe AG, Hughes TR, Page JE (2011) The draft genome and transcriptome of Cannabis sativa. Genome Biology 12: R102.

Woods P, Campbell BJ, Nicodemus TJ, Cahoon EB, Mullen JL, JK McKay, Quantitative trait loci controlling agronomic and biochemical traits in Cannabis sativaGenetics, Volume 219, Issue 2, October 2021, iyab099, https://doi.org/10.1093/genetics/iyab099

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