The Past, Present and Future of Cannabis sativa Tissue Culture

Plants (Basel). 2021 Jan 19;10(1):185. doi: 10.3390/plants10010185.


The recent legalization of Cannabis sativa L. in many regions has revealed a need for effective propagation and biotechnologies for the species. Micropropagation affords researchers and producers methods to rapidly propagate insect-/disease-/virus-free clonal plants and store germplasm and forms the basis for other biotechnologies. Despite this need, research in the area is limited due to the long history of prohibitions and restrictions. Existing literature has multiple limitations: many publications use hemp as a proxy for drug-type Cannabis when it is well established that there is significant genotype specificity; studies using drug-type cultivars are predominantly optimized using a single cultivar; most protocols have not been replicated by independent groups, and some attempts demonstrate a lack of reproducibility across genotypes. Due to culture decline and other problems, the multiplication phase of micropropagation (Stage 2) has not been fully developed in many reports. This review will provide a brief background on the history and botany of Cannabis as well as a comprehensive and critical summary of Cannabis tissue culture. Special attention will be paid to current challenges faced by researchers, the limitations of existing Cannabis micropropagation studies, and recent developments and future directions of Cannabis tissue culture technologies.

Keywords: Cannabis; DKW; TDZ; floral reversion; marihuana; marijuana; micropropagation; regeneration; review; tissue culture.

Publication types

  • Review