Cannabis Produced Without Growing The Plant: Sci-Fi Or Futuristic Technology?

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By Nicolas Jose Rodriguez 

BioHarvest Sciences Inc. (CSE: BHSC), a biotech company with offices in Canada and Israel, recently announced that it has produced some 22 pounds of full-spectrum cannabis biomass at a commercial scale without growing the plant itself.

This is the first time that any group, in either industry or academia, has successfully done this. The cannabis biomass, which is not genetically modified, was produced using BioHarvest’s proprietary BioFarming technology platform that grows plant cells in their natural structure in proprietary bioreactors, the company said in a press release.

cannabis crop
Photo by Olena Ruban/Getty Images

The result of the breakthrough by the Canadian-Israeli biotech company is cannabis biomass that is uniquely consistent and clean, resolving two major pain points related to product quality in the medicinal cannabis industry — product variability and contamination.

“The legal cannabis industry has been waiting for this moment as many of the challenges it has faced are being resolved using BioHarvest’s technology and capabilities,” said BioHarvest CEO Ilan Sobel. “With this milestone, we are ready to start engaging with key players in the global cannabis industry for the right partnerships ahead of the introduction of our new cannabis products.”

The biomass consists of cannabis cells, including cannabis trichomes containing cannabinoids such as CBD, THC, as well as other compounds that are naturally occurring in the cannabis plant.

BioHarvest’s cannabis trichome cells are amalgamated in a proprietary high-density coral-shaped structure, which enables a trichome density — the number of trichomes per unit surface — of up to 200 times greater than the conventional agriculture case.

The company pointed out that the result of the study is a “win for global sustainability.” For starters, BioHarvest’s production facilities use some 95% less physical space than traditional farming: one seven-foot bioreactor produces what would require 240,000 square meters of land annually.

The 5 Cs

The significant advantages compared to cannabis produced through conventional cultivation can be summed up by what the company refers to as the 5 Cs: consistency, cleanliness, cost, composition and climate.

Third-party assessments confirm BioHarvest’s growing process generates no direct greenhouse gas emissions, no hazardous waste and only produces 100% biodegradable wastewater while requiring less than 10% of the land resources and significantly less energy when compared to conventional cultivation.

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Photo by Kamonrat Meunklad/EyeEm/Getty Images

“For its therapeutic qualities, hemp-based CBD holds a significant potential for the Food and Beverage industry to which we have been supplying ingredients for over 40 years,” said Vince Pinneri, president of Batory Foods, a leading ingredient distributor for the US food industry.

“That is why we decided to team up with BioHarvest in order to guarantee the F&B industry the highest quality CBD with fingerprint consistency and ultimate cleanliness that their BioFarming technology can produce,” added Pinneri.

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BioHarvest has a market capitalization of about C$152 million and has raised about C$57.3 million to date. The company’s next stage will consist of producing cannabis biomass in industrial-scale bioreactors. Its offering will consist of multiple strains, carefully selected based on specific indications and B2B customer requirements.

“This major scientific and technological achievement is unprecedented in the cannabis world and is a strong validation of the superiority of the BioFarming technology,” said BioHarvest CTO, Yochi Hagay. “BioHarvest’s global leadership position in plant cell biology is proving itself now on a wide variety of applications.”

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Reflecting the breadth of possible applications, earlier this month, BioHarvest appointed renowned astronaut Chris Hadfield to its board of advisors as part of a drive to leverage its biotechnology platform to create products that address the challenges of space exploration.

This article originally appeared on Benzinga and has been reposted with permission.