Marijuana market and demand are increasing day by day but there is not enough land to grow cannabis. But recently Scientists in California have developed a way to meet the demand with a strain of yeast which can be used to brew Marijuana compounds. It can be done with just the addition of Sugar and the genetically modified yeast fermented to produce pure cannabinoid compounds including mind-altering THC and the non-psychoactive CBD.
Both of these compounds THC and CBD were used to treat chronic pain and childhood epilepsy. The Journal Nature published an article this week which is the first publicly-available article for study.
Jay Keasling who is a chemist at the University of California Berkeley and co-author of the study said,” The simplest way to explain it is that we took the genes out of cannabis that is responsible for making cannabinoids [the active compounds in cannabis], and then we put them into yeast.”
The scientists who are already familiar with the process and had already launched a cannabinoid brewing company said that the process is so cheap, fast and more environmental friendly than extracting Marijuana compounds from the plant.
“It took a lot of engineering to get there,” adds Keasling. “In a sense, we created a frankenyeast by putting together genes from many different organisms that would work together and create these cannabinoids.”
In traditional brewing yeast produces enzymes which can naturally turn sugar into Alcohol and Carbon dioxide. Whereas in the souped-up version, the scientists inserted more than a dozen genes into the yeast’s DNA many of them used by the marijuana plant to synthesize cannabinoids. The genes pump out the enzymes which act as a catalyst in the chain of chemical reactions starting out with sugar and going eventually to a chemical called cannabigerolic acid, known as “the mother of all cannabinoids.”
This process produces a range of Cannabis compounds including THC and CBD which can be derived from the acid. Anyhow in the Lab scientist use flask to grow yeast but to grow it on a commercial scale they need large stainless steel tanks which will use in brewing. For this purpose, Keasling and colleagues have formed a company called Demetrix, which will be able to supply small quantities of the product next year and large within the next three years.