Canadian Cannabis Producers Are Making Cannabinoid Products Out Of Yeast

CCJ Gabriel
Canadian Cannabis Producers Are Making Cannabinoid Products Out Of Yeast

Did you know that you can extract cannabinoids from yeast?

Well, I didn’t either, but the world of cannabis culture never ceases to amaze me, especially since legalization has taken place and the stigma surrounding weed has largely disappeared. So what are cannabinoids and what types of them can be pulled out of yeast? Allow me to explain.

Yeast | Definition & Uses | Britannica

Cannabinoids, naturally found in cannabis plants, are chemical compounds that regulate physiological processes.

Traditionally, they were obtained from the cannabis plant itself. However, recent biotechnology advancements have enabled scientists to produce cannabinoids using yeast as a host organism. This process involves genetically engineering yeast to produce specific enzymes that convert precursor molecules into cannabinoids. CBD, a non-intoxicating compound, has gained attention for its therapeutic properties in recent years, including analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and anxiolytic effects.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis, can also be produced from yeast, shockingly enough. Although it may have similar chemical properties to naturally occurring THC, regulatory restrictions may still apply due to its psychoactive nature. Other minor cannabinoids, such as cannabigerol (CBG) and cannabichromene (CBC), can also be produced using yeast.


CBG – Kindling

Cannabigerol (CBG), a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis, is the precursor to other cannabinoids like THC and CBD.

It is produced through biosynthesis within the cannabis plant and interacts with the body's endocannabinoid system (ECS), which regulates various physiological processes. CBG has shown potential therapeutic benefits, including anti-inflammatory effects, potent antibacterial activity against MRSA, neuroprotective effects in mice with Huntington's disease, and appetite stimulant effects. However, more research is needed to fully understand its therapeutic potential, as most research has been preclinical or on animal models.

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Cannabichromene (CBC) is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis plants, with potential therapeutic benefits.

Unlike THC and CBD, CBC does not produce a high or intoxicating effect. It has anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, and anti-depressant effects. CBC is found in low concentrations, typically 1-3% of the plant's total cannabinoid content, and just like CBG, it interacts with a human’s ECS. Research on CBC's potential therapeutic benefits is still in its early stages as well.

Learn More about CBC Here

Despite the advantages of yeast-based cannabinoids, challenges remain, such as achieving high yields while minimizing byproducts and/or impurities. Optimizing the production process to make it more cost-effective and environmentally sustainable is an ongoing area of research as well. But the biggest question is, why do it? What’s the point of extracting cannabinoids from yeast?

Scientists are exploring the extraction of cannabinoids from yeast to find sustainable and alternative methods for producing these naturally occurring compounds found in cannabis plants.

The Rise Of Yeast: How Civilization Was Shaped By Sugar Fungi : The Salt :  NPR

Traditionally, cannabinoids are extracted from cannabis plants, but this method has limitations due to resource-intensive cultivation and varying composition.

As I mentioned earlier, by genetically modifying yeast cells, researchers can create a reliable and scalable method for cannabinoid production. This involves introducing genes responsible for cannabinoid synthesis into the yeast's genetic code, which instructs the cells to produce specific enzymes. Environmental factors like temperature, nutrient availability, and pH levels can be controlled to enhance cannabinoid yield and purity. Yeast-based production offers precise control over the production process, scalability, genetic engineering, and potential for novel therapeutic properties. It also addresses legal and regulatory challenges associated with cannabis cultivation, bypassing restrictions and potentially accelerating the development of cannabinoid-based therapies.

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1 comment

Fascinating. Does the conversion process mean that the resulting products are not gluten free? Or does the genetic modification negate that aspect?


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