How will the decoding of the hemp genome affect the development of hemp medicine?
According to Dr. Mac Kiernan, before the start of the cannabis genome project, the scientists studied only 12 genes in the plant, while now, at the end of the work, several tens of thousands of marijuana genes are fully studied and ordered. In addition, thanks to the project, more than 2 million variations of nucleotides in the hemp genome have become known to science, which allowed the researcher to make a lot of new discoveries regarding the genetic mechanisms responsible for the synthesis of certain cannabinoids.
According to the doctor, the first such discovery was the fact that THC synthase is not one separate diploid gene synthesizing exclusively one compound, but a complex of genes capable, depending on its variation, produces structurally related THC substances that are other active cannabinoids. “In fact, contrary to previously known data, the sequencing of the plant’s genome demonstrated that parts of the hemp genes responsible for the synthesis of THC passed about 8 replications using the DNA transport elements in the history of this species, eventually acquiring a chemical structure that allows for such a high variation in terms of making different unique cannabinoid compounds at various concentrations, ”asserts Mac Kiernan ? .
Dr. Ethan Russo, who is the most respected specialist in cannabis medicine in the United States, reports to journalists that knowledge of the exact structure of the genes responsible for the synthesis of cannabinoids, as well as their variations, will allow genetic specialists to produce unique “synthetic” hemp hybrids in the future will naturally produce cannabinoids, including quite rare compounds found in natural plants, in necessary quantities.
“Of course, the promulgation of the cannabis genome map markedly stimulates the field of new developments in the field of medical use of cannabis,” says Dr. Russo. “At the moment, the development of unique therapeutic varieties of cannabis with the help of genetic manipulations are still at a rudimentary level, however, the available information reveals before us literally an ocean of new promising developments to increase the effectiveness of hemp medicine. In particular, the initial starting point for the creation of hemp hybrids containing exotic cannabinoids can be the development of such varieties of hemp plants that will have a strictly fixed concentration of THC or CBD, which is not subject to such strong fluctuations as is observed in natural hybrids. ”
In the future, according to Rousseau, the use of epigenetics to study the cannabis genome will theoretically allow scientists to produce plants with a genome designed to produce high concentrations of cannabinoids not observed in the natural environment, or plants, where the effects of certain therapeutic compounds will be complemented by increased production with them in synergy of terpenes and flavonoids.
“For example, we will be able to produce such types of cannabis, which, in fact, will contain only high concentrations of CBD, added by terpenes entering with them in synergy, to extract the maximum strong and controlled healing effect from a similar plant or its extracts”, suggests Dr. Russo. “By analogy, we will be able to create specialized varieties of cannabis, with well-adjusted and constant dosage of certain substances that can be easily and simply used for the treatment of certain groups of diseases or of certain specific ailments.”
In addition, Rousseau, as well as many of his colleagues, support the development of such “artificial” types of cannabis, as an effective measure to circumvent the legal barriers to the production and distribution of medical cannabis or its specific components in the United States and other countries of the world. Mac Kiernan himself ? believes that with the use of the science of bioinformatics, experts will be able to learn to “program” the cannabis genes themselves, for breeding unique cultures of cannabinoid compounds, which in principle are not found in nature.
“It’s not that this technology could completely overshadow the skills of cannabis, however, with it, scientists can calmly, without unnecessary legal barriers, produce new therapeutic compounds using legally available variations of technical cannabis that can be programmed to create cannabinoids highly specialized properties, ”he says.
Of course, some medical professionals, such as Dr. Donald Abrams, a hematologist and oncologist from the San Francisco Central Hospital, believe that geneticists should focus on the already studied, natural cannabinoids, rather than synthetics, relying on the often deplorable experience of using analogues data compounds as a substitute for phyto compounds. “Even without an accurate study of the genome of the cannabis plant, we know what properties phytocannabinoids have, as well as their influence on the functioning of the human body,” suggests the physician. “Patients require proven and affordable medicines or access to the cannabis plant itself and the right to cultivate it.