The researchers identified more than a dozen genes – including several used by the cannabis plant to synthesize cannabinoids – and inserted them into the yeast. Genes create enzymes that trigger a series of chemical reactions and, in a process similar to brewed beer, these reactions turn sugar into cannabigerolic acid. From this, a long list of cannabinoids can be produced, including THC and CBD, which you can now find as a panacea at the nearest petrol station.
Very seriously, CBD, or cannabidiol, is used to treat epileptic seizures in children and can potentially treat Parkinson's disease, chronic pain, anxiety, and more. THC is now in FDA-approved drugs for nausea induced by chemotherapy and to improve the appetite of AIDS patients. But research on marijuana for medical purposes has been slowed by the fact that more than 100 other chemicals in the plant are produced in small quantities. Scientists at the origin of this new genetically modified yeast say that it could accelerate the production of these chemicals, thus theoretically advancing the pace of research on cannabinoids and the development of the pharmaceutical sector.
Several other chemicals and medications are already produced using genetically modified yeast. These include human growth hormone, insulin and blood clotting factors, and yeast production has many benefits. In this case, the yeast requires less water than cannabis and can be produced without the pesticides, fertilizers, zappers and ventilation systems often used in the cultivation of the plant.