In most of the western world where industrial hemp, Cannabis sativa, is licensed for cultivation, the plants must not exceed a level of 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the principal intoxicating constituent of the species. Because there are no publicly available germplasm hemp collections in North America and only a very few, recent North American cultivars have been bred, the future breeding of cultivars suitable for North America is heavily dependent on European cultivars and European germplasm collections. Based mostly on material from Europe, this study surveyed THC levels of 167 accessions grown in southern Ontario, making this the largest survey to date of germplasm intended for breeding in North America. Forty-three percent of these had THC levels ≥0.3% and, therefore, are unsuitable for hemp development in North America. Discrepancies were found between THC levels reported for some germplasm holdings in Europe when they were grown in Canada and, accordingly, verification of THC levels developed in North America is necessary.
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Small, E., Marcus, D. Tetrahydrocannabinol levels in hemp (cannabis sativa) germplasm resources. Econ Bot 57, 545–558 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1663/0013-0001(2003)057[0545:TLIHCS]2.0.CO;2