Pot grown outdoors in California could become much more potent as climate change and drought continue to wreak havoc on the state’s fragile ecosystems.
According to a new study from The Daily Climate, rising temperatures and CO2 levels will likely boost the medicinal and psychoactive properties of plants, including cannabis.
“If you go back to the times plants evolved on land, the average CO2 (carbon dioxide) levels were 1,000 parts per million; today it’s about 400,” Lewis Ziska, a plant physiologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service who led the research, said.
This is significant because only 4 percent of plant species have adapted to these’s lower CO2 levels. The rest—including cannabis—still feel deprived.
But Ziska, who specializes in “weed migration patterns in the face of climate change,” believes global warming will benefit these deprived plants with more optimal levels of CO2, meaning “marijuana grown outdoors will likely become stronger and require less water to thrive.”
And other scientists agree.
James Duke, a retired USDA entho-botanist, explained that environmental stressors—such as California’s drought—typically cause plants to exhibit more medicinal properties.
“The more stress a plant gets—heat or cold or disease or just plain beating it—the more medicinal and less edible it becomes,” Duke told The Daily Climate.
Stress causes plants to convert proteins, carbohydrates and fats into “secondary metabolites that protect the plant,” he further explained. As far as marijuana is concerned, that means a potential increase in THC, CBD and other cannabinoid levels.