The volatile and rapidly moving cannabis industry presents unique challenges to innovation but that hasn’t slowed Canadian biotech company Hyasynth. Thinking outside the box (and the planter), they’ve devised a ground breaking way of cultivating cannabinoids that doesn’t require growing a plant. Their process also bypasses synthetic chemistry in favor of biochemistry to achieve a natural product. It may sound like science fiction, but they’ve found a way to successfully bioengineer genomes in yeast strains to produce specific cannabinoids such as THC and CBD in a way that breaks through the restraints associated with growing plants.
The Importance of Cannabinoids
Pretty much every benefit one receives from cannabis is a result of cannabinoids; active chemical compounds within the plant. Cannabis houses a multitude of different cannabinoids that act and interact to produce different effects in the user. Hyasynth has found a way to achieve the production of these same chemical compounds through controlled yeast cultures. Overall, the pioneering company aims to use their methods as a means of shifting focus within the cannabis industry back to healthcare in methods that could greatly benefit the health and wellness communities. But how does their process improve on a traditional (by comparison) grow operation?
Results in a Week
One of the most immediately noticeable improvements offered by Hyasynth’s work is that the results are delivered much more quickly. Your average grow cycle takes months whereas the bioengineered yeast produces cannabinoids within a week. Combined with Hyasynth’s process of producing exact cannabinoids, the concept of made-to-order cannabinoid products becomes a strong reality.
Unlocking New Combinations
Some critics have been quick to point out that the interaction of specific cannabinoids with other distinct cannabinoids is necessary to create the medicinal benefits associated with cannabis. However, this collaboration between compounds can be facilitated through Hyasynth’s bioengineering. This technology also allows them to experiment with different compounds in the hopes of unlocking new benefits or strengthening existing ones.
Efficiency and Control
Hyasynth’s set up is also more space efficient, trading in the vast acres of cannabis plants for a minimal laboratory stocked with tanks of glass and stainless steel. These tanks allow a full range of premium controls of the yeast from temperature to the materials being fed into the growing concoction. Obviously, this process is much easier to regulate than an outdoor grow spanning several acres. Not only is this attractive to researchers who need controlled environments for precision but also to the FDA who hinge on regulation. Hyasynth hopes that their process will make cannabis-based medicines more palatable to the FDA.
What Exactly is a Cannabinoid Product?
So is the end result a wad of cannabinoid-saturated yeast? Speaking with CannaInsider
on a recent podcast, Hyasynth’s Kevin Chen explained, “Our output isn’t the yeast but we extract a product from the yeast so, at that point, maybe it starts to look a lot more like what plant growers would do with their (…) oil production.” He goes on to draw parallels between his company’s results and supercritical CO2 as an example. The cannabinoids isolated by Hyasynth can be added to all manner of media including oils, pills, topical creams, and more. Hyasynth recently became a licensed dealer of their cannabinoid products under the authorization of the Narcotic Control Regulations of Health Canada. This basically opens the doors for Hyasynth beyond research and into opportunities to provide their commodities to those legally authorized to possess cannabis products. While bioengineering may still elicit some Jurassic Park
-inspired feelings of trepidation, the Canadian biotech pioneers seem poised to open up even greater vistas in the already sprawling industries of both cannabis and general health and wellness. Will plants be going away anytime soon? Definitely not. But the alternatives explored by Hyasynth promise to grace us with new, valuable information and easier access to specially tailored healthcare options.