Weed Gets You High Thanks To Ancient Viruses

Scientists now have a full map of the cannabis genome.

ancient viruses infected weed plants
Ancient viruses infected cannabis plants. (Getty Images)
NurPhoto via Getty Images

For the first time ever North American scientists have published a full map of the cannabis genome, Popular Science reports. The study show that ancient viruses were at play in the plant’s evolution.

Researchers discovered that genes that encode THC (tetrahydrocannabinol- the psychoactive component that gives you that high feeling), and CDB (most commonly used for treating medical conditions like epilepsy), evolved because millions of years ago bits of DNA were introduced to the plant via ancient virus.

In 2011, the same team published a draft of the same genome but it was too fragmented to nail down the specific location of the specific genes on the chromosomes.

Having a fully mapped cannabis genome could be game0-changing for the weed industry. Experts believe that they’ll have an easier time figuring out which traits to select in a strain of weed that will be faster and less complicated to cultivate.

Though this might be surprising news to regular folks, scientists have long known that retrotransposons (genetic elements) have viral origins.

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