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What is the latent hops virus?

The latent hops virus is as its name indicates a virus that infects plants and was discovered in strains of hops. Whenever the latent virus affects hops, it is not a very problematic disease, but it seems that in the case of cannabis and in certain varieties, its effects can be devastating or at least a major headache for those who suffer from it in their cultivation.

Family: Pospiviroidae

Genre: Cocadviroid

Description: 256 nucleotide round, single-stranded, bare RNA.

The term “latent” in the name refers, on the one hand, to the fact that most natural infections pass without inducing apparent leaf symptoms.


What damage does HpLVd cause?

Already in 2017 some California growers noticed a series of changes in some of their varieties, such as slow growth, malformations or chlorosis in the leaves, fragile stems and a notable reduction in the production of flowers and resin. Furthermore, clones cut from plants with symptoms had a much poorer rooting rate than those from plants without symptoms. Initially it was called PCIA (Putative cannabis infectious agent) until later symptomatic varieties were carefully studied. Several studies showed that around 35% of the Californian cannabis varieties had symptoms of HpLVd

Samples of plants with symptoms and plants without symptoms were collected and a genetic analysis of the samples was carried out, clearly isolating a group of nucleotides that did not belong to cannabis without symptoms. They compared the nucleotide chain to the known virus file. The coincidences suggested that the HPLV virus clearly affected cannabis.



How is latent hops virus spread?

The transmission of this virus is mainly done by insect bites. In the case of hops, the most frequent is Phorodon humuli, but in the case of cannabis, any aphid can be the transmitter of this virus.

As we have seen other times, pests are not the only transmission vector. Garden tools, cutting blades, and other utensils can transmit the virus from one plant to another.

How can you fight HpLVd?

Some Californian company has a virus cleaning process using tissue culture. Although the system is still patent pending and has not come to light it can be expected that in vitro reproduction is on the way forward. There are already several trials in Portugal of this technique to clean hop strains.

To date, thirty varieties of cannabis have been de-viralized.

Even so, and while we wait for a procedure available to all of us, the only option we have left is prevention and reduction of the viral load in our crops.

Prevention techniques:

-To quarantine all new acquisitions in our mothers wardrobe, especially if we do not know where they came from.

-Sterilize garden tools.

-Use gloves to manipulate plants.

-Change gloves between varieties.

-Eliminate infected varieties and all their remains.

-Maintain the crop free of pests to avoid contagion from other individuals.

How to disinfect our rooms?


After a little research and based on our own experience and after many tests with various products, we have come to the conclusion that H2O2 solutions help very positively to the disinfection of plants, thus, to the control of infection.

Hydrogen Peroxide has great oxidation power and is a great ally in the eradication of microorganisms and pathogens that threaten our rooms. H2O2 is capable of reacting with organic matter and breaking down into water and oxygen.

Usually solutions of between 1% and 2% are used. More clearly, between 10 ml and 20 ml per liter of distilled water.

Hydrogen peroxide will also help our plants at the root level since it will increase the oxygen load in the roots, but we must be very careful with irrigation solutions, since we can also annihilate all the micro life of the soil.

Thus, we can use H2O2 to disinfect work tools. In these cases, solutions of between 30% and 50% will be used. More clearly 300 ml of H2O2 for every 700 ml of distilled water. Tools will be left to soak for a minimum of 10 minutes. This will help keep our tools free of pathogens or viruses.

-Colloidal Silver

No bacteria, virus, fungus, yeast or microbe can live in a liquid in which there is a single silver particle, since this metal annihilates by contact all the aforementioned problems in just a few minutes. Colloidal silver has been considered since the mid-19th century as a super antibiotic. With a dosage of 0.04% it will be enough for it to take effect.

-To remember:

Spray solution: 1 li Distilled water, 10 ml hydrogen peroxide, 0.04g colloidal silver.

Tool cleaning solution: 600 ml distilled water, 400 ml hydrogen peroxide, 0.04g of colloidal silver.

How can I try to recover an affected variety?

It is difficult to know if the plant’s own immune system can kill the virus. In any case, our experience shows that a good diet and vigorous growth together with a reduction in the viral load in the growing room can leave the virus behind and harvest a plant with almost no damage. We will always have to maintain the conditions so that the development of the plant is fast and strong while we reduce the viral load in our room and try to help the natural defenses of the plant.

At first glance, it seems to us that if we manage to have a healthy and strong plant that leaves the virus behind, the successive cuttings of this specimen leave the virus symptoms more and more behind. Therefore, we recommend carrying out this cleaning-growth-cutting process several successive times to try to minimize the viral load in the variety and thus favor the plant’s own immune system to end the virus.

It is not an easy task, but with hygiene and perseverance we can achieve it.

Ripper Crew article published in Soft Secrets


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