San Diego Scientists Using Yeast To Make Cannabinoids

As legal cannabis continues to spread around the world, the industry is continuously looking for faster ways to bring better products in ample supply to meet consumer demand, which is growing with legalization.

While the cannabis plant is an obvious source of cannabinoids, there have been efforts to produce them without ever having to plant a single seed.

Dronabinol (Marinol, Syndros) is a synthetic form of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which was developed in the 1980s, and in 2015, researchers at the Technical University of Dortmund published a paper detailing how they were able to engineer yeast to produce THCA genetically.

Because of the fact that cannabis cultivation and processing can be long and costly operations to undertake, for a company to be able to manufacture cannabinoids without those steps would eventually result in higher production and a lower cost.

Two San Diego companies, Librede Inc. and CB Therapeutics, are looking to claim their places in the emerging technology as the legal cannabis industry ramps up in California and across the country.

In July 2018, Carlsbad biotech company Librede Inc. obtained a patent for the production of cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) microorganisms, a genetic modification process which changes yeast to turn sugar into CBDA.

The process costs 1,000-times less than conventional growing techniques, is twenty times faster, reduces energy and water consumption, and eliminates the need for fertilizers, pesticides, and soil.

According to their website, La Jolla-based CB Therapeutics is currently awaiting a patent on their proprietary five-day cannabinoid-producing yeast process.

With reduced cost and greater availability, CB Therapeutics expects to see quicker advancement in the development and production of cannabinoid-based medicines.