The hop latent viroid threatens cannabis plants

The hop latent viroid is keeping cannabis growers awake at night. They worry that HLVd will not only cut into profits but decimate entire crops and eradicate prized heirloom varietals. As HLVd spreads across the country, and possibly the world, researchers are working overtime to figure out what it is, how it affects the plants, and most of all, how to stop it.

Cannabis plants infected with HLVd start out completely fine — hence the word “latent” in its name. Growth is normal and everything seems to be on track. Then, at the flowering stage, something goes wrong. Plants start “dudding out.” They become stunted with smaller, spiky leaves. Nodes are closer together and buds are smaller and looser with fewer trichomes and less scent. According to Oaksterdam University Horticulture expert Jeff Jones, cannabis growers can lose a majority of their harvest to HLVd.

HLVd is likely transmitted through clones, and is spread from plant to plant through manicuring utensils and handling, as the ‘blood’ of the plant gets on scissors or gloves. Established sterilization practices using isopropyl alcohol do not kill the viroid. In fact, alcohol seems to amplify HLVd, making plants more susceptible to infection, Jones says. Because it lies latent, it is often spread unknowingly within and between cannabis grows.  

The big question is: how can the virus be stopped? You can read that, along with the rest of the article, at

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