Hop Latent Viroid is Trashing Cannabis Crops

Hop latent leaf

A recent study[1] found that 90% of California facilities are detecting occurrences of Hop Latent Viroid. The survey tested more than 100 licensed California cannabis facilities and 200,000 tissues between August 2018 and July 2021, suggesting losses of up to $4 billion in cannabis crops. The pathogen poses a large threat to the industry because it can go undetected to the naked eye, yet it spreads quickly and impacts all stages of plant growth.

Hop Latent Viroid (HLVd) is an infectious pathogen that is often proliferated during the cloning and pruning processes. When pruning tools cut an infected plant, these tools can then spread the virus to a healthy plant. HLVd is problematic because it may be dormant in plants for some time, yet still spreads throughout the crop. Growers can identify active Hop Latent Viroid symptoms, which include stunted growth, brittle stems, and reduced trichomes. It impacts crop yield, which of course affects a grower’s bottom line.

How can you prevent the effects HLVd? While sterilization of equipment is important, routine testing is crucial. Small costs up front can save the detriment of large costs at harvest, which is why most large-scale cultivators are performing this testing on a routine basis. HLVd testing isn’t just for cannabis giants, though, as it can wreak havoc on growers of all sizes.

For more information about how Merso Labs can help, please visit https://www.mersolabs.com/viroid-testing/.

[1] https://www.cannabisbusinesstimes.com/article/cannabis-hop-latent-viroid-infections-dark-heart-nursery-crop-loss/