Will the Future of Cannabis See Any Need for Weed?
It’s no secret that the two most sought after compounds in the cannabis plant are THC and CBD. The past decade has seen rapid innovation is the ways that the plant is grown, harvested, and processed, all with the intention of maximizing the concentration of these desired cannabinoids.
With cannabis gaining mainstream momentum, the hard-earned know-how of successful cannabis extractors has finally been met with advances in technology and applied science to create the most potent hash oils, extracts, and concentrates in the long history of the plant.
All of this is welcomed by a growing community of people who have determined that vaporizing cannabis oil is their preferred method of ingestion. Discreet vape pens give users a clean, pre-loaded puff with no need for fire or ash.
Still, there will always be the connoisseurs among us who will prefer to enjoy the plant the old fashioned way; with papers, pipe, or bongload. And although nine states plus D.C. have passed laws allowing adults to do just that, the federal government has repeatedly shown a refusal to budge on its prohibitive stance on the plant.
Recently the FDA and the DEA conspired to allow a British company called GW Pharma to put their new anti-seizure medication, Epidiolex, on the U.S. market. The drug is, at its core, a cannabis derived CBD extract, making it the first weed-related drug to gain such approval from the Feds.
To do so, they had to take a good hard look at cannabis, which had grown roots on Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. Defying any sort of logic, they made Epidiolex a Schedule V drug and left cannabis on Schedule I, the list reserved for drugs deemed to have no medicinal value.
But public demand for cannabis reform and legalization is at an all-time high.
Any businessman will tell you that where there is demand, you just need to provide the supply and the result is usually profit.
But for many big money investors the question is, how can you generate safe, legal profit if the federal government keeps the cash crop on its hit list?
The GW Pharma news was an eye-opener for many people as they realized that the cannabis plant itself may remain an outlaw, but its active compounds may be safely up for grabs. But regardless of their business plans, it always comes back to the fact that somewhere along their chain of production, someone is going to have to grow it, harvest it, and process it, putting their hands all over the quasi-legal plant.
But researchers believe that they may have an answer that, once perfected, will likely satisfy Big Pharma, and therefore our politicians. . . if not us connoisseurs.
Biotech scientists believe they have discovered a way to breed – or even brew – THC and CBD in massive quantities in laboratory-grade steel vats without the need for even a seed, or any of the associated problems with the marijuana plant.
That’s right – they don’t need top shelf colas or even last year’s bammer to produce medical grade THC and CBD isolates that will be ideal “ingredients” (their word, not ours) for edibles, tinctures, topicals, and more.
Their method injects the genes of cannabis into the DNA of yeast. They then feed that yeast a bunch of sugar and the result is a natural bioreactor churning out THC and CBD. This isn’t some theory or hypothesis, they are doing it in small, experimental quantities right now but the race is on to see who can be the first to start kicking it out on an industrial scale.
Companies are patenting yeast strains as you read this.
They all plan to skirt Schedule I by ditching the need for growing weed. Another of their sales pitches breaks down once again to basic supply and demand.
They say that traditionally grown cannabis cannot supply the demand of the public. In other words, they think there’s no way we can grow enough weed for you mofos!
In places like Oregon or Colorado, inventory surplus, not shortage, is the issue. But recent reports out of Canada, which is on the verge of nationwide legalization tomorrow, say that the country may run dry on legal pot almost immediately.
One of the fundamental barriers to true, nationwide legalization here is, and has always been, the fact that you can grow it in your backyard and cut Uncle Sam out of the middle.
But, ten years from now, will that be the only place to get an actual bag of weed?