SOAR Student Profiles

Savannah Lawwell

Savannah Lawwell

  • SOAR Position: Member
  • Major: Biology
  • Faculty Mentor(s): Dr. John DuBois

Current Focus: Producing Pollen, Pollination and Assessment of Seed Yields and Cannabinoids in Feminized Industrial Hemp (Cannabis sativa)

Additional Interests: Botany, Ecology, Secondary Education, Chemistry, Hiking

Project Description

Historically, Cannabis sativa has been used for a variety of things. The flowers and leaves have been used in medicines and recreational drugs. The seeds have been used for oils and foods, and the stem fibers have been used for clothing, paper, and ropes. Despite this, there is still limited knowledge about these versatile plants--especially when it comes to cannabinoid production. The two most well known cannabinoids are cannabidiol (CBD), which is non-psychoactive and used mostly in medicines, lip balms, and topical ointments, and tetrahydrocannabidiol (THC), which is the psycho-active component used mostly in recreational drug use. In order to gain more knowledge, the purpose of my research was to determine baseline data of varying high-cannabidiol (CBD) strains of Cannabis sativa provided by Greenway Herbal Products, LLC. In order to gather this baseline data, I conducted several silver thiosulfate treatments on these different plants in order to create feminized pollen resulting in seed production. Once the buds and seeds were harvested, the seed yield and cannabinoid levels were determined in each plant. The harvested seeds were then germinated and grown up in order to determine their sex ratio and cannabinoid levels. The silver thiosulfate treatment protocol and data will be used in future research studies with Cannabis sativa.

Why does this topic interest you?

This project interested me because of the potential future applications for the agricultural and medical industries, and I wanted to challenge my own perspective by pushing myself out of my comfort zone with this project.

What are your professional aspirations?

After graduation, I will be a high school biology and chemistry teacher!

Do you have any advice for future researchers?

Do not be afraid to fail. Failure is often deemed as negative, and that is not the case. Failure is a natural part of not only research, but also of being human. I can promise you that every single researcher has failed in some capacity; I know I have multiple times. So, embrace your failures and figure out what can be learned from that moment.

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