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A New Genetically Modified ‘Low THC’ Hemp Was Just Approved by the USDA

The modified hemp plants are not available for purchase yet but when they are, they will likely appeal to hemp farmers since hemp that exceeds the .3% limit on THC can not legally be sold and must be destroyed.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently approved a new genetically modified type of hemp that contains virtually no THC in it.

The new variety of hemp was developed by Growing Together Research, an Indiana-based biotech company that specializes in cannabis, psychedelics and agriculture. 

The modified hemp plants are not available for purchase yet but when they are, they will likely appeal to hemp farmers since hemp that exceeds the .3% limit on THC can not legally be sold and must be destroyed.

GTR estimated that 10 percent of all hemp grown between 2018 and 2020 had to be destroyed due to testing too high in Delta-9 THC.

High Times reported that “more clarification will potentially come soon regarding the new hemp plants as the USDA was tasked primarily with determining if the genetically modified hemp plants posed a “plant pest risk” rather than regulations concerning the compounds contained in the plant, which are largely left up to the FDA and DEA.

In a September media release, the USDA said they “reviewed the modified hemp plant to determine whether it posed an increased plant pest risk as compared to cultivated hemp” and found that it was unlikely to pose an increased plant pest.

Meanwhile, the team at GTR is also reportedly experimenting with developing another supercharged variety of cannabis containing elevated levels of THC.

“The scientific ability to modulate THC expression up and down, referred to as the "Delta-9 Dial," represents a quantum leap forward in stable gene editing of the cannabis plant, which is notoriously difficult to transform,” the company said in a 2022 press release.

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