September 05, 2018
With growing approval of cannabis in society in general and in legislation in particular, the scientific progress on the strain is also scaling some momentous milestones. In a recent such development, Gingko Bioworks, a Biotech firm from Boston is partnering with a Canadian marijuana company to produce cannabinoids through the plant DNA.
This ambitious project is akin to what we usually see in Sci-fi movies. Gingko has a plan for the direct production of cannabinoids without the cultivation of the plant that naturally produces them. Genetic harvesting will be used in the process of producing particular cannabinoids present in the cannabis plant.
Commercial implications of the project
If this joint venture succeeds in producing cannabinoids through DNA, it will revolutionize the commercial landscape of cannabis. A cannabis flower contains more than 100 cannabinoids. However, its medical and recreational uses are mostly centered on only two cannabinoids namely CBD and THC.
For that matter, all other cannabinoid variants present in the plant don’t have a similar significance from the commercial point of view. So, if manufacturers succeed in producing the only sought-after cannabinoids by circumventing the entire process of conventional farming and harvesting, they can easily fulfill the demand of quality MMJ and recreational products. Besides that, cutting the agricultural cost will also increase their share of profit. These cost cuts will eventually trickle down to end users as well.
Mining of rare cannabinoids will become possible
Apart from THC and CBD, some of the rare cannabinoids also have advantageous traits. However, they are present in such a small amount that users can only get a whiff of them in whole-plant consumption. For instance, an isomer of main THC molecule called delta-8 is one of the rare cannabinoids. Its psychoactive character is moderate as compared to main THC molecule. Also, some research studies have correlated delta-8-THC with the reduction of cancer tumor. The DNA-based production of cannabinoids will enable manufacturers to produce this beneficial rare cannabinoid in large amount.
Is this the end of traditional cannabis farming?
With the production of cannabinoids in controlled environments, manufacturers don’t have to face climate and soil issues that are very intrinsic to traditional cultivation. They will be able to produce a cost-effective and quality MMJ and recreational cannabis products with consistency. In addition, the mass cultivation of cannabis requires a lot of water, which is an unwanted implication for the states already facing water scarcity.
So, it is pretty clear that if the genetic production of cannabinoids becomes a thing in future, it will obsolete the traditional methods of cultivating cannabis. CEO of Gingko thinks that this paradigm shift is inevitable. The agricultural process will soon be transformed into a technological function and this is the reality with which we have to live in the future.
However, the mainstreaming of genetic growth of crop will take considerable time. So, conventional agriculture sector doesn’t face an imminent threat. The lab cultivation of cannabis will additionally take more time because of red tapping and prohibitions prescribed under federal laws.
Marijuana stays in the news, and Alice is always ready to keep us updated. A world traveler and lover of freedom, Alice knows what is going on, no matter where she roams. She specializes in marijuana legalization stories across the globe, with up to date... [read more]