The Doomsday Vault Safeguards Humanity's Cannabis Seeds

Stephen Andrews
02 Sep 2021

When the world ends, this is where you go and look for a dealer who can give you some Kush.

In the case of an apocalypse, humanity will be able to restore cannabis crops. Seed samples from various cannabis strains (although we don't know which ones) are deposited safe and sound deep in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault.

Buried inside a Norwegian mountain, the Global Seed Vault or the doomsday seed vault stockpiles backup seeds for each and every plant humanity cultivates. This includes seeds from Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis. The facility currently safeguards more than 21,500 cannabis seeds stored in the vault in the case of Armageddon. 

Surprisingly, the vault holds more marijuana seeds than it has for blueberry, raspberry, or asparagus. Almost all countries in the world have deposited seeds in the Norwegian vault, with as many as 17 countries reported to have deposited cannabis seeds. There are rumors these 17 countries also include North Korea. The Hermit Kingdom has supposedly sent over 500 varieties of cannabis seeds. The other rumor is that the big pot consumer, the USA, has sent no cannabis seeds to the vault. 

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is designed to withstand both hazardous global catastrophes that could significantly decimate the human population on the planet and human-induced disasters such as a nuclear war. 

Essentially the vault is a huge fail-safe deposit box containing the world's most extensive collection of agricultural biodiversity. In the words of Brian Lainoff, lead coordinator of the Crop Trust, which manages the vault, "inside this building is 13,000 years of agricultural history."

In an Armageddon scenario, seeds deposited in the Norwegian bank should back up the much smaller gene banks worldwide, which could face localized destruction and threats. If a natural hazard diminishes a crop and all locally stored seeds are lost, a depositor can approach the vault to withdraw the seeds and save that particular crop from extinction.

The Doomsday Vault has a capacity to store up to 4.5 million varieties of seeds. The vault's manager updates the deposits on a regular basis. Seeds are placed in protective storage containers on metal shelving inside the vault. 

It is assumed that the chosen cannabis seeds are some of the best of both THC- and CBD-dominant varieties. However, if you want to reach out to the vault in a post-apocalyptic world and check if they have some OG Kush, Amnesia Haze, or Durban Poison, well, you better also save the address of three other institutions. The Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research, the Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety, and the Nordic Genetic Resource Center safeguard an additional batch of at least 20,000 cannabis seeds. But where is the good OG Kush? Nobody knows.

Stephen Andrews