Jasmonic Acid (JA)
Definition - What does Jasmonic Acid (JA) mean?
Jasmonic acid (JA), also known commercially as Jasmonate, is a plant hormone produced by many plants, but one that plays an especially important role in cannabis plants. Some gardeners of cannabis often purposefully stress out a marijuana plant by pruning so the plant produces not only elevated levels of jasmonic acid but also trichomes.
The elevated hormones of JA and trichomes make the plants the delayed bud production all the more rewarding because the cannabis buds end up containing high levels of trichomes. The trichomes of the cannabis plant are what produce the plant’s cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids.
In all plants that produce jasmonic acid, it is believed that jasmonic acid plays an integral role in a plant’s defense against consumption by herbivores.
Hydrolife explains Jasmonic Acid (JA)
If the plant sustains sudden damage from a chomping herbivore, it immediately releases jasmonic acid in response to the damage. This means the jasmonic acid essentially floods the plant’s system, bursting into its stems and leaves.
In outdoor-grown cannabis plants, JA not only deters further consumption by the herbivore but also helps the plant heal the wound. Depending on the strain or plant variety, the jasmonic acid defense response in a plant can take several minutes up to several hours.
If a plant's tissue sustains a wound, such as during pruning, it flushes its system with jasmonic acid as an act of self-preservation and to assist wound healing. Whenever JA is produced by a plant, it is instantly entered into a state of high stress. When a marijuana plant produces jasmonic acid and is under extreme stress, it’s overall growth is significantly slowed and it may not produce buds or flowers until the plant again feels safe and no longer under stress.
Ideally, this can be a benefit to growers when it is time to prune back a plant because after shearing or pruning the plant to the desired size, the plant's growth rate is reduced and it will not rapidly regrow. This is important for indoor-grown plants that have limited space to flourish.