Scientists at UC Berkeley have discovered a new and efficient way to grow cannabinoids in a controlled environment, but the most surprising part is that it has nothing to do with the cannnabis plant. Instead of growing and processing the cannabis plant, using energy and industry at every turn to create a consumer product high in either CBD or THC, scientists are suggesting that these cannabinoids, other known cannabinoids, and even potential cannabinoids that may not even exist yet, can be grown and created using yeast. Researching cannabinoids other than THC and CBD has proven difficult due to the tiny amounts produced by the cannabis plant, but when growing them using yeast it is easier and cheaper to control the end product and create larger amounts. Creating CBD and THC products through yeast has huge potential, but scientists are just as excited to further research on other cannabinoids with potentially more or other medical value as well.
But medical research on the more than 100 other chemicals in marijuana has been difficult, because the chemicals occur in tiny quantities, making them hard to extract from the plant. Inexpensive, purer sources—like yeast—could make such studies easier.
Plus, he added, there is “the possibility of new therapies based on novel cannabinoids: the rare ones that are nearly impossible to get from the plant, or the unnatural ones, which are impossible to get from the plant.”