The Week in Cannabis

by | Jan 11, 2019

Scientists Claim Photorespiration Can Boost Crop Growth by 40%

Scientists from the US Department of Agriculture Service and the University of Illinois have discovered a workaround to a glitch that affects the photosynthetic process in plants. According to research they published in the academic journal Science, reversing the effect of photorespiration, a natural evolutionary mechanism that has been described as anti-photosynthesis, they claim that they can boost crop growth by 40%.

Dr. Paul South, a molecular biologist at the US Department of Agriculture, explained that photorespiration works in exactly the opposite way as photosynthesis. “It costs the plant precious energy and resources that it could have invested in photosynthesis to produce more growth and yield,” he said. After studying RuBisCo, a molecule that is responsible for breaking down carbon dioxide into the sugars that are used in plant development, scientists discovered that in 20% of cases, it grabs oxygen instead of CO2. By reverse engineering this process, the scientists claim that they could boost crop growth in tobacco by 40%.

Federal Government to Fund Research Into Lesser-Known Marijuana Components

Grants of $1.5 million are to be invested during 2019’s fiscal year by the federal government in research projects investigating the impact of marijuana components other than THC on pain. The NCCIH, or National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, published the grant opportunity on Thursday. In the notice, NCCIH specifically asked for studies focusing on “minor cannabinoids and terpenes.”

As the NCCIH stated, research in this direction is particularly important because of the broad use of addictive painkillers that are based on opioids. “Early clinical data suggest that cannabis may enhance the potency of opioids in relieving pain, and the synergy from using these products together may result in more effective pain relief with lower doses of opioids,” the agency stated.

The primary objective of the grants is to discover whether the different components can act as pain relieving agents and to find out how they work both combined and separately. Indeed, while the analgesic properties of THC are well known, there is not much evidence about the rest of cannabis’ components.

Packaging Startup Introducing Sustainable and Compliant Solutions for the Cannabis Industry

Sana Packaging, a startup designing and developing compliant and sustainable packaging solutions for the cannabis industry, announced Wednesday its partnership with Oceanworks Inc., an organization that collects and repurposes discarded ocean plastics. Their goal is to create a new cannabis packaging line made of reclaimed ocean plastic is set to be released in spring 2019.

Sana Packaging’s main product line is already made of plant-based plastics, which shows that sustainability is at the core of the company’s philosophy. “We’re extremely excited about working with Oceanworks,” said CEO, and co-founder of Sana Packaging, Ron Basak-Smith, in a press release issued by the company. “This is an incredible opportunity to help clean our oceans and protect some of our planet’s most fragile ecosystems. While hemp bioplastics will remain our core focus, ocean plastic is a problem we have to address.”

Former Soldier Fatally Shot by Police During Cannabis Farm Raid in the UK

Sean Fitzgerald, a 31-year-old former soldier, was fatally shot by the police on Friday evening in Coventry, UK on a suspected cannabis farm raid. A firearm has not been found at the scene to that point. Neighbors claimed the police described the incident as a drug warrant that had “gone wrong.” According to West Midlands Police, another two 26-year-old men were arrested during the raid upon suspicions of drug-related offenses, particularly cannabis production.

Karl Lolley, a fire engineer, living behind the police cordon said he witnessed officers approaching Fitzgerald’s home and subsequently heard “four or five” gunshots. An investigation was opened by the police watchdog in which footage from both local CCTV and the cameras worn by the police officers involved are to be examined by the IOPC (Independent Office or Police Conduct). “Our investigation is in its very early stages, and we will be working hard to establish what happened” Amanda Rowe, IOPC regional director stated in an interview.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee To Pardon Thousands of Small-Time Marijuana Possession Charges

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee will pardon thousands of small-time possession cases, six years after the legalization of adult marijuana use in the state. The announcement was made Friday in Seatac at the Washington cannabis industry summit. Inslee, preparing his presidential run for 2020 mention that he was forming an expedited process, allowing approximately 3.500 applications without the intervention of a lawyer or having to go to court.

“We have people who have this burden on their shoulders from a simple, one-time marijuana possession from maybe 20 years ago, and that's impeding the ability of people to live their lives,” Inslee stated in a recent interview. “It can damage their ability to get financing for a home; it can damage their ability to get financing for colleges, even simple things like going on a field trip with your kids.”