What is Hop Latent Viroid and How Did It Cause $4 Billion in Losses for the Marijuana Industry?

hop latent viroid virus pathogen

As an individual or organization interested in cannabis for personal or commercial purposes, you must know all possible threats to your cannabis plants. This article seeks to provide insight into a high-rising danger to the cannabis industry, leading to unbelievable loss. 

Several potential challenges threaten the profitability of any cannabis business, but not every of such threats has led to a $4 billion loss. Therefore, the discourse on Hop Latent Viroid is a very timely and important one that provides insight into the progress America and California are making in dealing with this challenge. 


What is Hop Latent Viroid? 

The Hop Latent Viroid, also known as HpLVd is a single-stranded infection that depends on the metabolism of its host plant to replicate itself. This Viroid happens globally in “Hops” and can infect the hop’s relative, which is the cannabis plant. 

The Viroid is also an infectious pathogen that causes diseases in the marijuana plant. It is often referred to as “Dudding disease,” and sometimes the infected plants are initially asymptomatic (doesn’t show symptoms). This infection can also be dormant in plants for an extended period, and eventually, the symptoms become evident. 


The negative economic impact of Hop Latent Viroid on the cannabis industry

Before cannabis is ready for consumption, it has to come from the farms and be adequately harvested. This means plant health is essential: if there are infections ravaging cannabis plants, harvest time will be a challenge. Without healthy yields and harvest, we cannot gain access to marijuana, which means supply will not match demand. 

Currently, there is a high demand for cannabis and marijuana-based products. Expectant consumers and users are relying on cannabis farms to make this supply possible. But if HpLVD consistently ravages the plants, products will be scarce, leading to financial losses for the cannabis business. 

Dr. Bryce Falk is a Professor Emeritus at The University of California’s plant pathology department, and he assesses the threats Hop Latent Viroid poses to cannabis growers. He maintains that it will be challenging for marijuana growers to spot the infection mainly because it is asymptomatic at first. 

The inability to detect the infectious disease from the start is a huge threat that may lead to a total wipe-off of the plants before the grower realizes the problem. He also agrees that for the industry to attain its potential, it needs to function at a large scale, and Hop Latent Viroid threatens such rapid growth. If we have a highly profitable cannabis industry, we will need to terminate all risks that threaten the grower’s peace. 


The Role of Dark Heart Industries 

Dark Heart Industries is also one of California’s leading marijuana genetics. In August 2021, the company announced that it had completed two hundred thousand tissue tests for Hop Latent Viroid and discovered new data about the impact of the infection on America’s marijuana industry.

Dark Heart also tested over 100 marijuana growers around California starting August 2018 until July 2021. The outcome shows that over 33% of tests performed from 90% of cultivation locations were POSITIVE for Hop Latent Viroid. 

This revelation also supports an earlier projection by marijuana experts that Hop Latent Viroid negatively impacts over 30% of marijuana plants. This report means that the industry loses over $4 billion annually. American growers expect to produce over 7 million pounds of legal marijuana in 2021, but this may not be possible with the impact of Hop Latent Viroid. 

The Director of Plant Science and Laboratory at Dark Heart Industries, Dr. Jeremy Warren, is recognized as the first scientist who identified HpLVD as the reason for dudding in marijuana. Dudding is a colloquial term for different symptoms the plant displays. 

Some of the symptoms include stunted growth, loss of plant vigor, reduced yields, and complete alterations to the plant’s morphology. With Dr. Warren leading the company, a patent-pending cleaning process was developed to remove Hop Latent Viroid from all infected cannabis specimens.

Within the last four years, Dr. Warren’s data and thousands of other diagnostic tests have made it possible for the Dark Heart Laboratory team to eliminate Hop Latent Viroid. This infectious disease is affecting legal marijuana crops all over America and not just in California. 

Dan Grace, the founder of Dark Heart Lab, announced that the lab now has a new facility for biotechnology research. The new lab located in California is gradually expanding its capacity to process the Hop Latent Viroid in plants. So it is now safe to say that the laboratory can support growers who have to deal with Hop Latent Viroid in their cannabis farms across the country. 


Information on Dark Heart Industries 

In addition to their contributions to Hop Latent Viroid and its impact on the cannabis plant, Dark Heart also has a mission to empower marijuana growers. They are pioneers committed to innovative services and products that will benefit cannabis growers. 

As a leading voice in the cannabis industry, they are paving the way for genetic breeding and plant pathology while creating new marijuana seed technologies. These efforts will effectively contribute to the eradication of Hop Latent Viroid and other plant pathogens. 

With committed laboratories like Dark Heart Industries, there is hope that the American cannabis industry will make some progress with fighting Hop Latent Viroid. Of course, there is a lot to do and progress to be made, but the infrastructure set in place for solutions has become a framework that other countries can adopt for their cannabis industries. 


Bottom Line

Like every profitable and record-breaking industry, the cannabis industry in California has its peculiar challenges, and Hop Latent Viroid tops the list. While it is easier to handle logistics, sales, and marketing issues, a problem with the plant itself poses a more significant threat. 

This article has analyzed how Hop Latent Viroid causes up to $4 billion worth of losses to the cannabis industry. Luckily we have companies like Dark Heart labs that are taking up the challenge and seeking solutions to save the sector from subsequent losses.





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