CULTURE
Introducing, the World’s First True GMO Weed Plant
And no, Monsanto didn’t make it.
Published on July 22, 2019

Well, after years of sensationalist false alarms, it’s finally here: genetically modified cannabis for the commercial market.

Created by Trait Biosciences, the world’s first truly transformed marijuana plant has arrived. A cannabis biotech firm based in Los Alamos, New Mexico, Trait designed the plant to produce water-soluble cannabinoids, which they claim confers several industrial benefits that companies can’t get from the naturally bred plant.

Conventional techniques to create water-soluble cannabinoids — cannabinoids like CBD and THC that can dissolve in water — usually involve emulsifying cannabis extracts, which is basically mixing them into starches. Trait’s proprietary plants generate the dissolvable cannabinoids inside of the cannabis itself, so there's no need to chemically modify the molecules after costly and hazardous extraction processes.

But, before we dive into this biotechnological marvel (or Dankenstein, depending on how you feel about genetic modification), let’s review what makes something genetically modified (GM) and what doesn’t.

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Trait Biosciences headquarters in Los Alamos, New Mexico. Image courtesy of Trait Biosciences.

A Primer on Genetic Engineering

Less biotech-savvy cannabis activists will claim that GM weed has been on the market for years, often parroting the same “naturalistic” claims invented by the biotech industry itself. According to this (erroneous) belief, nature has essentially been “genetically modifying” plants since, well, forever. But that’s not true. Frankly, that’s a marketing line invented to make the public more amenable to GM crops.

AGRICULTURE
CBD
TECHNOLOGY
NEW MEXICO
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Randy Robinson
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Based in Denver, Randy studied cannabinoid science while getting a degree in molecular biology at the University of Colorado. When not writing about cannabis, science, politics, or LGBT issues, they can be found exploring nature somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. Catch Randy on Twitter and Instagram @randieseljay
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