Once the male cannabis plant has developed its pollen sacs, it is important to keep a close eye on them.
Cannabis pollenis usually viable for 2 to 3 days under natural conditions. However, researchers have discovered that when frozen and sealed, it can last up to a year and even longer. Outdoors, pollen can be viable for one to two weeks under normal conditions.
In a study funded in part by the Canadian government, researchers have developed a method to store cannabis pollen for extended periods. They combined the pollen with cooked wholemeal flour and stored it in liquid nitrogen. After removing the pollen from the mixture, they applied it to female flowering plants, resulting in successful seed formation in all test subjects. The team also discovered that pollen can be more or less viable at different stages of the flowering period.
The optimal time to extract pollen seems to be during the middle phase of flowering. At that time, it retained “viability” for a longer time: 22 percent of the pollen grains germinated successfully after 21 days of storage in a low-temperature environment. The long-term storage of cannabis pollen is particularly important for the international cannabis industry, where pollen from faraway places is needed for a variety of reasons. Properly sealed and stored cannabis seeds can be expected to last several years and, in many cases, longer.
Viable germination lasted 4 months, which means that it is possible to preserve cannabis pollen indefinitely. This is invaluable in maintaining a large collection of genes. Cannabis pollen is more unstable than seeds and, even under the most optimal conditions, is not expected to have such a long lifespan. Interestingly, cannabis pollen stored in liquid nitrogen without adequate moisture reduction did not germinate.
This development is so important for cannabis breeders and for the entire cannabis industry as it allows them to store and preserve valuable genetic material for extended periods of time. Canada is one of only two countries that have legalized adult cannabis and is home to the strongest adult cannabis industry in the world.