can you grow tobacco/marijuana hybrids?

I know this thread will make me look like a total stoner but I assure you i’m not! The thought came to me after a brief conversation with a guy in the office trying to bum a cigarette from me, he quipped about growing his own tobacco then commented on how ‘it wouldn’t just be tobacco’ so I laughed and suggested he combined them…Now is it (hypothetically) possible to splice the two plants together using any of the current methods (GM etc)?

Certainly there’s no way of breeding them together - they are far too distantly related.

I suppose it might be possible to Genetically engineer a tobacco plant to produce THC (or a cannabis plant to produce nicotine), but I wouldn’t imagine that any of the big GM players would touch the idea until and unless the stuff becomes more widely legalised.

It happens all the time, no GM required, necessarily. Ever heard of a tangelo? How about tomacco? :slight_smile:

Now, the real question is, why would you want to do that?


Evidently, you are turning off the brain before answering this. Tangelos are a hybrid of two closely-related species, and “tomacco” doesn’t exist outside of cartoons and the minds of the stupid. Tobacco and cannabis are too distantly related to breed successfully.

I have a friend with a small dog that looks a little bit like a fox. She thinks she can get dogs that look MORE like foxes if she–get this–ties up her dog overnight in an area inhabited by foxes. I have not been successful in persuading her otherwise.

Reeder is right. I remember reading a book about marijuana in the 70s and one method to camouflage the plants that they suggested, was grafting cannabis on hops. The final result would look like hops but with the potency of pot.

Dogface has his smiley filter turned on apparently. Do humorous allusions only exist in cartoons, too? Or should we have queued the laugh track?

Interspecies hybrids are easy, this is how we get all kinds of citrus varieties, and this is how we get bananas. When you start getting into genuses, it gets much more difficult, and beyond that, pretty much impossible.

Let’s look at the descent of tobacco among plants:

Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Polemoniales
Family Solanaceae
Genus: Nicotiana
Species: tabacum

Now, Hemp/Cannabis:

Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Urticales
Family: Cannabinaceae
Genus: Cannabis
Species: sativa

So, for those two, you have to go all the way back to class to find a common ground, meaning the genes and chromosomes are so different that they would have no chance of ever crossing to make a hybrid.

If tobacco and hemp were within the same family it could possibly be done, such as when they create “mule palms”:

Mule palms are in the Palmae/Arecaceae family, and they are crosses of Syagrus Romanzoffiana and Butia capitata. The reason this cross is easy is because they have the same chromosome count (16 i believe):

Both are within the Arecaceae family as i’ve said, but both belong to the arecoidae sub family, the cocoae tribe, the butiinae sub tribe.

So, their chromosomes are pretty close in number and compatibility (members are: Jelly palms, Chilean wine palms, queen palms, coconut palms, parajubaea, lytocaryum, polyandrococos, and allagoptera, all of which are similar).

Fatshedera is an interesting genus because it is also a cross genus hybrid, coming from Japanese Aralia (Fatsia japonica) and english ivy (Hedera helix). Both are within the aralia family, so this cross was possible.

As you can see, plants have to be pretty closely evolved from a common ancestor in order to be able to crossspecies and genus lines.

Which means it would be as unlikely as breeding say, cats and mice.

But they managed to cross strawberries with Halibut genes didn’t they? Could you not modify the plants on a genetic level to contain both nicotine and THC? The reason being is that marijuana is commonly smoked in Britain mixed with tobacco and maybe it would be easier to cut out the middle man so to speak. Also it would make that particular strain more addictive (or just addictive depending on your viewpoint) making it a more marketable product for evil drug lords to peddle to children outside the school gates.

WILLASS: Yes, you could probably modify tobacco genes to produce THC instead of/in addition to nicotine. But you’d need serious facilities and armies of trained personnel to identify the genes of both plants that would need to be changed and added in/removed, and the facilities to do the alterations. It’s orders of magnitude more difficult than grafting hemp onto hops, and it’s outside the reach of anyone who would seriously consider doing it.

I’m thinking we could make our investment back in the first year easily Derleth, lets split the initial outlay and go fifty-fifty on distribution rights, what say you?

They did not cross the strawberry with the halibut. Utter nonesense. They introduced a halibut gene into a strawberry. A gene is a gene is a gene. It is not a creature. It will make one protein (assuming it is even expressed) and that is all it will do. That one protein may have one effect, but it will likely have many and it is hard to predict. But the strawberry in which the halibut gene has been introduced will not have fins and scales, nor even gills, will not be able to swim; it will have one gene taken from a halibut. If you look closely at the genome of a man, you will find many many genes that are relatively minor variations of genes found in mice or in marigolds. For example, all the eye pigments, as well as hemoglobin, are produced by genes related to those that make chlorophyll in plants. That is one of the strongest arguments for evolution.

But they managed to cross strawberries with Halibut genes

i’m sorry my grasp of genetic engineering may be somewhat scant but I thought that what I wrote clearly said that they crossed strawberries with thegenes of halibuts. I realise that this does not give rise to strawberry shaped and flavoured halibuts that are first plucked from a small plant then released into the ocean to swim freely with the caramel cods and the brocoli bluefish…:smack:

Still thank you for answering my question that it is not possible to combine marijuana and tobacco using genetics.

I knew that chlorophyll and heme were chemically similar (they’re porphyrin-like compounds) but eye pigments? Do you mean the melanins that color the iris or the opsins in the photoreceptors?

I was under the impression that melanins were ordinary proteins that, when oxidized by tyrosinase, turn a dark brown.

Okay, I’ve never studied botany, so don’t really have the language to articulate my question, but I remember reading about a tragedy where a family grafted tomato plants onto jimson weed, resulting in death and psych wards. Now, grafting isn’t hybridizing, so how did the properties of the jimson weed get into the tomatoes? And why can’t this be done with other, distantly related, types of plants?

No, I don’t have a cite, and don’t remember where I read about this, but I’ll look around.

Now I’m being driven nuts by not being able to remember the book. I thought maybe it was one by Lewis Thomas, but apparently not. Does anyone remember reading this tomato/jimson weeed story?

I’m not sure about the realbilty of this site, but it briefly details the jimson weed-tomato story:

Also the FDA are certainly aware of the dangers of grafting jimson weed onto tomato plants:

Ah, the book is “The Medical Detectives” by Berton Roueche. Good book about epidemiology written for a general audience.