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Hydroponics Cultivation Cannabis sativa L. Plants
High potency seeds of the same variety of Cannabis sativa L. were planted in small jiffy pots to standardize hydroponic indoor cultivation protocol for a Cannabis crop. Germination initiated in three days and most of the seeds were germinated within seven days. Well-developed seedlings were transferred to 2.5((Prime)) pot for their better vegetative growth. After enough development of roots and biomass plants were transferred in a multi-flow hydroponics system (Green air Hydroponics, CA, USA) equipped with 55 gallon nutrient reservoir and a 3.5 gallon reservoir with electronic timer to control the flow of nutrient from reservoir to plant pots. These plants were then thoroughly monitored and periodically analyzed with their growth for the THC, THCV, CBD, CBC, CBG and CBN content throughout the growing period. All these seedlings were kept under similar environmental conditions (light, temperature, RH and CO2 concentration) in a grow room for the indoor cultivation throughout the growing period. Light was provided to these plants with full spectrum 1000 watts HID (high intensity discharge) lamps (Sun Systems Ltd., CA) hung above the plants. A hot air suction fan was attached and about 3 to 4 feet distance between plants and bulb was always maintained to avoid heating due to HID bulbs. By adjusting the distance between plant and light source, PAR (photosynthetically active radiation) of about 700±25µmol m–2s–1 was maintained at the pot level. Using an automatic electric timer photoperiod was regulated to maintain vegetative (18h) and/or flowering (12h) stage. Grow room temperature and humidity was kept nearly constant at ˜ 60°F and ˜ 60% respectively throughout the growing period. Plants were kept using a vegetative fertilizer formula and long photoperiods i.e. 18 hours light and 8 hours dark for their acclimatization and vegetative growth in a hydroponic environment. After desired growth of the plants, the under vegetative stage plants were fertilized with flowering fertilizer formula and provided a 12 hour photoperiod to induce flowering. After the initiation of flowers, male plants were removed and only female flowers were kept for further investigation. Twenty-three plants were thoroughly monitored and analyzed for THC and other cannabinoids content Based on cannabinoids content, plant ID 6 (THC 18–20%) was selected for further cloning using micropropagation. Acknowledgement: This work was supported with federal funds from the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institute of Health (NIH), Department of Health and Human Services, USA, under the contract No. N01DA-7–7746.