The History of Lawrence Ringo, one of the fathers of CBD
In today’s article we are going to talk about Lawrence Ringo, one of the most important figures in the history of cannabidiol (CBD). Through a series of points, some important milestones in the life of this visionary will be discussed.
Who is Lawrence Ringo?
Lawrence Ringo (1956-2014) is known for his work in breeding, stabilising and hybridising CBD-rich marijuana strains. He was born in 1956 in Orange County (United States), into a middle-class family and enjoyed a happy childhood surrounded by his relatives.
In order to better understand his life, the most interesting biographical information about Lawrence is presented below. In addition, below, you will learn more about his life as a researcher, botanist and visionary of CBD varieties. Undoubtedly, this last one is the main reason why Lawrence is remembered.
There is only one thing Lawrence Ringo loved as much as botany, and that was music. Lawrence was encouraged by his grandmother to begin studying music at the age of seven and is known for his work as a musical composer. The guitar was his favourite instrument and he was even known locally as “Guitar Monster” among his peers.
Lawrence Ringo’s interest in botany began when he was only 15 years old. During the 1970s, Lawrence began studying and growing Cannabis plants in his native California. This enthusiasm translated into passion as he began to stabilize and hybridize strains. The young Ringo also started collecting pollen, in order to produce new varieties and begin to build up its first stock of seeds.
One of the cultivation techniques attributed to Lawrence Ringo is light deprivation. He discovered it accidentally during his experiments with outdoor varieties. He inadvertently covered part of the greenhouse he had for growing plants, realizing that it can interfere with natural photoperiods.
Light deprivation is precisely this: using greenhouses with covers that can block sunlight, so the grower can induce the flowering phase by reducing the light hours even outdoors. This was a revolutionary measure that changed the cultivation procedures of many growers.
During the 1980s, Lawrence Ringo continued to work on light deprivation. Thus, he used it for early sexing. This was again a game-changing innovation that allowed growers to work with more foresight on their crops. In the same way, Lawrence used this early sexing technique to be able to early detect male plants.
During the same decade, Lawrence Ringo acquired 1.5 square kilometres of land for extensive and intensive cultivation. Lawrence’s work on the cannabis plant was improved with the acquisition of this land and he was finally able to give meaning to the seed cellar that he had worked so hard to collect.
To this seed cellar were added varieties from exotic locations such as Mexico, Afghanistan and Thailand, regions popular for producing legendary marijuana varieties grouped under the name heirloom seeds or heirloom varieties. Lawrence Ringo’s work also involved improving such interesting plant characteristics as the presence of active cannabinoids such as THC.
In the 1990s, Lawrence found a job at Seagate Technologies, which enabled him to support his 3 children, in collaboration with his wife. It also allowed him to continue his work as a botanist, to the point of building a large research and development facility from which he could continue his research on the Cannabis plant.
Lawrence Ringo continued to collect a variety of strains from all over the world, resulting in a total of 20 new strains during the early 2000s. It was not until 2009 that Lawrence Ringo began to shape the Kush Seeds project, which would later give rise to SoHum Seeds (South Humboldt Seeds), the seed bank that popularized the figure of this visionary.
In 2010 Lawrence carried out research on cannabidiol, detecting that one of his strains was rich in this cannabinoid with possible medical properties. This was the case with “Sour Tsunami”, one of the first strains developed in the United States with a high CBD content.
Lawrence Ringo passed away in April 2014 from lung cancer. Ringo was a heavy tobacco smoker and this addiction eventually led to a harsh disease that ended his life. Ringo’s legacy continues in the important research he and his team carried out on Cannabis seeds. Especially those rich in CBD.
Delving deeper into Lawrence Ringo’s legacy
Historically speaking, it was Northern California cannabis breeders who were the first to focus on hybridizing the plant’s psychoactive properties. Lawrence Ringo, who as noted, had been growing Cannabis since the age of 15, re-hybridised the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in some of his plants, while elevating CBD compounds to new levels.
Like many manufacturers delving into the possibilities of cannabis, his intention was personal. He had suffered from severe back pain since childhood. With a disc missing between his third and fourth vertebrae, his bone pain required something more than pharmaceuticals could offer.
His widow, Kat Hart, says he also developed Cannabis plants to improve his guitar playing, demonstrating the plant’s versatility to go from recreational to medicinal in a single strum, so to speak. As mentioned, Ringo was a great enthusiast of the instrument.
As demonstrated in his biography, it took Ringo many years to develop the cultivars that would help his own back pain, while allowing him to maintain his business life throughout the day. To do this, he saved the seeds of the plants that offered the most relief and eventually hybridized them into the strains we know today.
For example, plants grown from the seeds of New York City Diesel, purchased from Canadian Marc Emery, were crossed with the beginnings of Sour Tsunami to produce the Sour Diesel we know today. Sour Tsunami is the most popular and innovative strain obtained by Lawrence Ringo.
Thus, the entire cannabis scene rejoiced the day Samantha Miller, one of the founders and top exponents of Pure Analytics, a California lab, informed the SoHum Seeds team that their Sour Tsunami had yielded over 11.3% CBD, while retaining 6-7% THC.
It was one of the first times the reputable Dr Miller had encountered high CBD concentration crops and the results made a big milestone. The biggest news was that Miller informed Ringo that there were eight other strains that also had the potential to be high in CBD.
At the time we knew very little about CBD, but Samantha conveyed its vital importance in the seed scene, with its previously almost unknown properties. This was truly the moment that defined So Hum Seeds as we know it today.
Sour Tsunami was the first milestone in the history of CBD-rich seed strains, with Harle-Tsu, Canna-Tsu and Swiss-Tsu following in their footsteps.
Current cultivars available in their catalogue include AC/DC, Canna Tsu, Cheesel O, Harle Tsu, Hula Budda, Kona, Pineapple Tsunami, Purple Diesel, Sour Tsunami, Swiss Tsu, and OG Cheese Dog.
Ringo’s Harle Tsu is an excellent example, as it is found with a 20:1 CBD ratio that tests over 22% CBD.
In Lawrence’s legacy, there is also room for more uncomfortable moments. Thus, Kat Hart, Lawrence Ringo’s wife, said she was upset when a CNN documentary drew attention to Lawrence’s discovery as “a hippie disappointment” because of the lack of CBD in the plants Lawrence produced and glossed over the discoveries Lawrence had made about the Cannabis plant.
This was not enough to undermine the legacy Lawrence had built. Undoubtedly one of the most important CBD pioneers in history, researcher and activist until his last day. It is thanks to the likes of Lawrence that the Cannabis landscape in many countries is changing.
This has been the entire life of Lawrence Ringo, one of the most important figures in the history of Cannabis in the 20th century. For further interesting reading: Interview with Mahmoud Hanachi, the head of genetics of Dutch Passion.