The cannabis plant produces over 100 cannabinoid compounds, most of which are not psychoactive. One of these has recently gained worldwide attention, a cannabinoid called Cannabidivarin, or CBVD. CBVD has shown great promise in treating those with epilepsy and other seizure disorders. However, there is a problem in getting enough CBVD to treat people if trials show it effective. CBVD is produced in small quantities in the cannabis plant, and extracting it from plants is expensive because it takes tons of cannabis. Now, a new production technique known as “Cellular Agriculture” may help change the role of cannabis in medicine forever…
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Traditional cannabis farming cannot yield enough CBDV, experts say, but cellular agriculture could. Cellular Agriculture is a complex technique. A specific gene from a plant is spliced with a yeast, typically, to produce a kind of cellular factory. This collection of farmed, gene-spliced cells grow and produce a specific compound. In this case the gene is the one that produces CBVD in cannabis. It is genetically inserted into the yeast and modified so the yeast can produce pure CBVD.
“You need a cost-effective source and that’s where cellular agriculture could come in,” said Avtar Dhillon, board chairman for the medical cannabis company Emerald Health Therapeutics, based in Victoria, B.C. The idea that “a molecule coming from a plant could be produced synthetically or biosynthetically,” Dhillon added, “has far-reaching implications.”
“Anybody who is developing cannabinoids through any kind of regulatory process,” he said, will consider synthetic ways of manufacturing in the near future.
The medical applications could be far-reaching. Epilepsy affects around 50 million people worldwide and those diagnosed with it are three times more likely to die prematurely. Around 30 per cent of those with epilepsy don’t respond to available treatments.By producing CBVD in this manner, it is able to be produced at scale, much like insulin or penicillin is currently produced. This method of production allows the efficient use of resources and the high output of a consistent, pure product that is greatly favored by the medical industry.
Other cannabinoids are also showing great promise in the field of medicine with CBD, or Cannabiniol, leading the pack. According to Medical News Today CBD’s potential benefits include relief from:
Natural pain relief or anti-inflammatory properties
Quitting smoking and drug withdrawals
Epilepsy and other mental health disorders
Helps fight cancer
Type 1 Diabetes
Since the cannabis plant produces 113 different types of cannabinoids, the ability to produce any of them through Cellular Agriculture holds unbelievable promise for the future of medicine.
“You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality.”
– Ayn Rand
Medicine is not the only field where Cellular Agriculture shows great promise. Since it can be used to produce other cannabinoids, such as THC, it is also being seriously looked at by the edibles industry and other recreational producers.
From all reports, approved products from Cellular Agriculture of cannabinoids are likely 3 to 4 years out. For the moment, more relaxed laws and greater availability are finally allowing serious research of the cannabis plant to begin and that is proving to be a good thing. Out of the 113 available cannabinoids, only a handful have ever been researched.
With their demonstrated ability to help the human body control inflammation, cannabinoids have implications in most fields of medicine. We may well find in the next few years a number of wonder treatments available from various cannabinoids. If we do, it will likely be Cellular Agriculture that makes them possible as cures and treatments.