Semester of Graduation

August 2022

Degree

Master of Science (MS)

Department

School of Plant, Environmental and Soil Sciences

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

Hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) cultivation research did not exist in Louisiana prior to 2020 (LSU AgCenter Therapeutic Cannabis Committee, 2020). Therefore, nine cultivars of essential oil-type hemp were evaluated in 2020 and 2021 to determine optimum planting dates, in-row plant spacings and THC compliancy for organic field production in south Louisiana. Until suitable genetics for Louisiana’s environment can be identified, an in-row spacing of three feet is recommended for field-grown hemp. Cultivars Berry Blossom, Queen Dream and Stormy Daniels produced sufficient biomass for commercial production. While Berry Blossom, Queen Dream, Oregon White and Putin’s Problem were high-yielding, Oregon White was the only cultivar to remain compliant and not exceed 0.3% THC when field grown. There were no differences in THC content between the top, middle and bottom portions of field grown plants.

The second objective assessed the growth, yield and cannabinoid development of 28 cultivars of essential oil-type hemp plants in greenhouse conditions. Cannabinoids D9-THC and CBD and their molecular precursors THCa and CBDa displayed similar developmental patterns throughout the flowering period. The concentration of CBDa follows a positive trend and gradually increases each week during the flowering period in 14 of the 16 cultivars analyzed for cannabinoid development. This information can incentivize producers to sample their product throughout the flowering period solely to ensure THC concentrations remain compliant. Fruity Petals was the only cultivar in which the top portion of the plants’ flower buds had higher concentrations of CBDa as compared to the middle and bottom portions of the plant. Umpqua, Lifter Seedless, Sour Lifter and White CBG Seedless were the highest-yielding of all 28 cultivars grown in the greenhouse, however Lifter Seedless and Sour Lifter exceeded 0.3% THC and should be harvested earlier in the flowering period.

Date

7-1-2022

Committee Chair

Kathryn Fontenot

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