Synthetic biology could outperform plants at producing marijuana components. But obstacles remain.

untitled

Using the tools of synthetic biology, innovators are making a bold move into the cannabinoid industry, particularly as cannabinoids are increasingly recognized for their therapeutic uses. Cannabinoid fermentation is more precise, economically scalable, and environmentally sustainable than plant production. Biotechnologists are supported by a growing list of investors who recognize tremendous consumer interest and an improving regulatory landscape. Cannabinoid fermentation is poised to become a major future supplier of high-grade, low-cost cannabinoids for therapeutic research purposes, as well as a booming consumer market.

cannaboinoid fermentation[Editor’s note: This text is from the conclusion of the June 19 report: Cannabinoid Fermentation: Scalability, Purity, and Sustainability for an Emerging Market. Click image for full report.]

Nonetheless, a few factors call for caution. First and foremost, the legal and regulatory landscape remains uncertain. Second, even though fermentation itself is very mature, it will take some time — not just months, but one or more years — before biosynthetic routes are optimized and fermented cannabinoids are commercialized, and longer still before it is highly economical. And third, the cannabinoid ecosystem (for both traditional extraction and biosynthesis) is becoming crowded, meaning there will likely be some consolidation and losers among this first batch of innovators.

Related article:  Biotech marijuana: Israeli startups aim to breed cannabis plant that's easier to cultivate

Synthetic biology promises to significantly shape the emerging cannabinoids industry from the ground-up by providing low-cost, high-quality active ingredients. It will enable a broad range of therapeutics and products for patients and consumers, and give them improved labeling and decision-making ability. The next couple of years are likely to establish the leading innovators, producers, and investors in cannabinoids for many years to come.

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

As Europe sees record coronavirus cases and deaths, Slovakia is testing its entire adult population. WSJ's Drew Hinshaw explains how ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...
favicon

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend