For centuries, we have been standing on a small mushroom called brewery to help us produce a fairly important trio: bread, beer and wine. Now, scientists have genetically engineered it to produce Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) – the main ingredients of marijuana.
Publish their findings in Nature, made altered yeast so that it contained a variety of genes normally found in marijuana plant. They constructed two different sets of yeast – one that could produce a substance called THCA and another that made the CBDA. When these are heated, you get THC and CBD.
In recent years, scientific research has shown marijuana to have a number of potential medical uses, from anxiety and PTSD to reducing epileptic seizures. Although we still have a lot to learn about the effects on the body, the research suggests that it is safer to use than alcohol and tobacco, so it may not be surprising that cannabis, its extracts and THC-containing drugs are now legal in different countries and US states.
THC, the psychoactive compound in cannabis, is currently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat nausea experienced by patients undergoing chemotherapy and to increase appetite for those suffering from AIDS. Meanwhile, CBD, which affects the brain without causing high, is approved for the treatment of epileptic seizures in children.
An obstacle to researchers trying to unlock the full potential of the marijuana plant is that the chemicals in it are present in very small amounts and are therefore difficult to extract. But yeasts are small power plants that can cut out the substances for researchers to study and consumers should use.
"For the consumer, the benefits of high quality, cheap CBD and THC are: you get exactly what you want from yeast," says Jay Keasling, a California university, Berkeley professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering and bioengineering, in a statement. It is a safer and more environmentally friendly way to produce cannabinoids. "
Growing marijuana plants harm the environment because outdoor farms pollute water with pesticides and fertilizers, while indoor growing schemes use a lot of energy to maintain artificial lighting and ventilation. Massively reducing the impact of the marijuana on the environment.
Presently, GM also produces its own cannabinoids that have not been produced by the plant. or the unnatural ones that are impossible to get from the plant.
"When you read about cases of patients who have seizures and are helped by CBD, especially children, you realize that there is some value in these molecules, and producing cannabinoids in yeast can really be good."