Scientists Create THC And CBD Using Beer Yeast Instead Of Plant.

Creating THC and CBD without using the plant sounds like an absurd idea someone would come up with after smoking too much. A team of scientists has now found a way to do exactly that, using the same chemicals people have used to brew beer for thousands of years.

Jay Keasling, a chemical engineering professor for the University of California, Berkeley, and his team published their process to the February 27 issue of the scientific journal, Nature. They found a way to genetically modify a sugar compound in brewer’s yeast into inactive THC and CBD chemicals called THCA and CBDA. Applying heat activates the molecules and voilà, the psychoactive compound is formed.

Keasling’s team is the first of 10 other companies actively working on creating synthetic cannabinoids from yeast, bacteria or algae to complete the entire process. They believe that their method may be a more cost-effective way to produce cannabinoids while also being less harmful for the environment than growing plants.

It’ll still take a while for Keasling’s hope to become a reality. The team made only 8 milligrams per litre of THC and even less of CBD. Jason Poulos, CEO of Carlsbad’s-based Librede and a political science professor also at UC Berkeley claims, the process would have to turn out a hundred-times the initial result to be competitive with plant cultivation. Ronan Levy, the chief strategic officer for a Canadian company Trait Biosciences, wonders why even bother with yeast fermentation. “Everything you can do in yeast, you can do in the plant itself with far greater yield and purity,” Ronan Levy told journalists at Nature.