A new trend is rapidly evolving in the cannabis field, a trend set out to disrupt everything we previously
thought about the way cannabis products are going to be produced in the near future. Cannabinoid
What is Biosynthesis?
Very roughly, biosynthesis is the formation of complex compounds from simple building block
substances by living microorganisms, fermented in a controlled environment, in a similar way to the way
beer and wine have been produced through the use of fermented yeast for thousands of years.
Cannabinoids are of course naturally found in the cannabis plant, but they can also be produced in other
ways, like synthetic and biosynthetic processes. However, in contrast to synthetic production in the
laboratory, which creates molecules that are only similar analogs to the naturally occurring
cannabinoids, the cannabinoid compounds created through biosynthetic processes are exactly the same
as the natural cannabinoids produced by the cannabis plant itself.
Yeast and bacteria are the most common microorganisms used to produce cannabinoids using
biosynthesis, with the raw ingredients being just water, sugars and carbon dioxide.
The key advantage to this process is that it results in a higher purity of the resulting cannabinoid
products, and much lower production costs and environmental footprint comparing to the traditional
cannabis cultivation process which demands huge resources of agricultural land, water and electricity.
Most importantly, the resulting compounds are the exact same compounds that would be produced
from cannabis extraction, but without the need for long growing cycles and the use of fertilizers,
herbicides and pesticides.
What Are the Implications for the cannabis industry?
Sophisticated and modern cannabis markets demand huge amounts of pure cannabinoid raw materials
for their production needs. Products like cannabinoid infused cosmetics, creams and lotions, cannabis
edibles, vaping pens and above all cannabinoid based pharmaceutical products, must use pure and
reproducible sources for cannabinoid compounds, purity which is very hard to achieve through the
traditional cannabis cultivation method. Of course, if the cannabis industry was all about smoked
flowers only, then producing cannabinoids from alternative methods wouldn’t be interesting. However
mature markets for cannabis based medical and consumer packed goods (CPG) products are constantly
growing, taking more and more sales percentage from the traditional cannabis raw flowers markets.
These products may in the near future use cannabinoids produced from biosynthesis rather than
extracted from cannabis, wiping out demand for a large amount of the current agricultural cultivation
production capacity. The clear advantages of the biosynthetic production route for pure cannabinoids
are thus poised to rapidly change and disrupt the landscape of the current cannabis industry.
Biosynthesis methods are able to produce cannabinoids with higher purity, reproducibility and
uniformity comparing to raw cannabis extraction. This fact, in addition to the promised lower
production costs offered by this new technology, is a huge driver for its adoption by the modern
cannabis industry as it evolves towards more and more sophisticated and mass-produced cannabis
In addition, the new technology should be able to create cannabinoids that aren’t expressed significantly
in the cannabis plant itself. These rarer cannabinoids are particularly appealing to pharmaceutical
companies, and therefore it is expected that cannabinoid biosynthesis methods will become the new
standard for cannabinoid production for pharmaceutical uses.
Cannabinoid biosynthesis technologies are getting more and more attention as the potential new
standard for production of pure cannabis compounds, and thus have the ability to radically change the
way cannabinoids are manufactured and mass-produced in the near future. If the new technology
indeed proves as successful and highly scalable as it seems to promise, many cannabis production
companies will shift to this new production paradigm which will dramatically improve the quality and
consistency of their products while also dramatically lower their production costs. Many large-scale
cannabis production companies (LPs) have already made investments that could position themselves to
capitalize on this technology shift, as they see the new cannabinoid biosynthesis production technology
as the real future of the industry.