The bioengineering of cannabis: what is it, what you need to know, and why it’s important

Cannabis plant photo by Tim Foster
Cannabis plant photo by Tim Foster

As of 2022,  about 77% of the whole population lives in a state where cannabis is legal for medical, recreational use, or both. With an industry that is already that big and is still growing some advancements need to happen. So naturally cannabis, with so many people using it, there is a lot of research on it.

Some of the research done on cannabis led researchers to find that cannabinoids are not only specific to cannabis plants. There are currently eight plants that are identified and that are producing some concentrations of cannabinoids and cannabinoid-like compounds.

These newly found compounds are able to interact with cannabinoid receptors to provide therapeutic benefits similar to the CBD compound that is extracted from the cannabis plant.

What Is Cannabis Bioengineering

Cannabis bioengineering involves the heavy use of genetic modifications to scale the production process of cannabis plants and boost their extracts. Cannabinoids like CBD, THC, and several others are present in the cannabis plant only in small quantities. That fact makes it unfit for every industrial scale.

Cannabinoids are mainly in the trichomes. Trichomes are short outgrowths on the cannabis bud, which makes all other things unusable. Stalk, stem and leaves are all unusable and are thrown away. All that led to the introduction of bioengineering to cannabis growth culture.

Even some of the leading companies in this industry are implementing bioengineered cannabis because of the benefits like controlling THC levels and improved overall yield. As times go we are surely going to see more and more cannabis-orientated companies making partnerships with bioengineering companies.

Now that we know what cannabis bioengineering is, we can get into the detail of why is it important and what you need to know about it.

What You Need to Know About Cannabis Bioengineering

Cannabis bioengineering is going to allow for an easier cannabis growth process. Aside from being more environmentally friendly it also has other benefits, some of them being control of the THC levels.

Being able to control THC levels when cannabis is growing is important because of the fact that everything with more than 0.03% THC is illegal. As a result, manufacturers have to destroy about 10% of their cannabis to not be charged with illegal weed growing.

With the ability to control THC levels, we can see price drops, which can attract more people to try marijuana. But, please be aware of the law in your state. For example in Oklahoma weed is legal for medical and recreational use but only if you have a marijuana medical card.

There is the possibility to turn up THC in strains that are popular but don’t have enough THC in them. As well as the opposite.

Cannabis bioengineering is still in the early stages of development, but it has already shown that it can impact all cultivars of cannabis. As a result, we should have quality cannabis that is made without any negative effect on the environment, all while being more affordable.

Why Is Cannabis Bioengineering So Important

Cannabis bioengineering has the potential to change the cannabis industry as we know it — of course, for the better. Aside from the obvious things like flavors, potency, and looks, bioengineering can help with the bigger picture. Here are just some of the main advantages of using bioengineering in the cannabis industry:

More Environmentally Friendly

Bioengineering is going to lower the carbon footprint of the whole cannabis industry because there is less energy used than in the traditional cultivating process. A new way of growing cannabis is powered by bioreactors that need a lot less energy.

The traditional cultivating process required a lot of power to run all of the lights and ventilation vents. Aside from needing more power, the traditional process also has a risk of water and land pollution from all the unnecessary parts of the cannabis plant.

Consistency of Product

The main problem cannabis cultivation is facing is the consistency of the product, where it would tend to not be consistent at all. The cultivation process is affected by a lot of external factors like pests and weather.

Bioengineering makes the process of producing cannabis a lot easier and more consistent. External factors do not affect bioengineering as the quality of the products mostly depends on work within so naturally, they are less prone to environmental factors.

More Types of Cannabinoids

The use of bioengineering in the cannabis industry added the possibility to make other cannabinoids more effective. A very small group of people know any other cannabinoid other than THC and CBD, but we are sure after this THC and CBD are only going to become one of many cannabinoids in use.

For example, there are cannabigerol or CBG and THCV which is short for tetrahydrocannabivarin. The bioengineering method even has the ability to produce compounds that are not found in nature which can be more effective than THC and CBD, for example.

Closing Thoughts

With cannabis skyrocketing in popularity since legalization began, there was a need for some new ways that can boost productivity and consistency. And bioengineering may be just the thing we were waiting for.

However, this technology is new in the cannabis industry and there is a lot more research needed so we can confidently say that bioengineering is the key. As far as the benefits it brings today we are sure that bioengineering is the future of cannabis growth.