New DNA Test Determines Cannabis Compatibility

Endocanna Health Creates New Paradigm of Personalized Medicine Connecting Human DNA with Cannabis Genetic Profiles

CALIFORNIA: Endocanna Health this week launches its Cannabinoid DNA Variant Test”  — billed as the most comprehensive personalized cannabis DNA test available on the market today. Developed by a team of renowned scientists at Endocanna Heath, a biotechnology research company, this direct-to-consumer DNA test kit, analyzes an individual’s DNA markers and provides science backed recommendations based on their specific DNA in a way no other test has been able to do before.

Until now, there was no comprehensive way to test one’s unique DNA and align it with the latest research to predict how humans may respond to cannabis. For example, some individuals with a specific variant in the gene CYP2C9 may not metabolize THC well and should be cautious about consuming edible products. The test also screens for genetic variants linked to the tendency to experience greater levels of anxiety, drug dependence, and a host of other traits. Therefore, this test allows people to have positive outcomes, helps individuals demystify their cannabis experiences, and further establishes cannabis as a viable solution to alleviate health and wellness issues.

Endocanna HealthEndocanna Health utilizes a patent pending algorithm and process to develop its Cannabinoid DNA Variant Report™. DNA for the test is obtained through either a simple saliva swab or existing genetic data from popular DNA testing services like Ancestry, 23andMe, Family Tree DNA or MyHeritageDNA. Consumers can then use their personalized reports to discover the right products for their specific genetics with product suggestions from Endocanna Heath, providing a full spectrum experience.

“Our goal in establishing Endocanna Health is simple,” says Len May, Endocanna Health co-founder and CEO, “to provide individuals with the tools and confidence to incorporate cannabis into their lives using the most up-to-date research available today. Information that is accurate, but most importantly personal and unique to an individual’s DNA. The goal of our reports is to help people identify which products may help them, and try to give them the best possible outcomes with cannabis. We are gratified to help the millions of people who use cannabis or who may want to begin using cannabis make the most informed decisions when it comes to using the plant.”

Librede Receives Patent For Cannabidiolic Acid (CBDA) Production In Yeast

CALIFORNIA: Librede, a leader in natural cannabinoid biosynthesis, has been granted a new patent for the production of cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) in microorganisms.

The patent, Production of Cannabidiolic Acid in Yeast, describes the modification of yeast to produce CBDA from simple feedstocks such as sugar. CBDA is a naturally occurring cannabinoid found in hemp and cannabis which is used to produce cannabidiol (CBD). Cannabidiol has been shown to have a wide range of therapeutic properties, including treatment of epilepsy, for which a CBD-based therapeutic has won recent FDA approval.

 Librede is now in the process of continuing technology development through optimization and scaling for industrial production in large fermenters. Dr. Anthony Farina, Librede’s Chief Scientific Officer, explains: “We have been building our platform around the natural biochemistry in the cannabis plant that gives rise to a diverse set of compounds, with our focus being on therapeutic applications. Having engineered cannabidiol synthesis in the laboratory, we are now beginning the process of scaled up production.”

Fermentation for the production of high value, complex, natural products offers a preferred route to synthesis at an industrial scale. Librede’s biosynthetic approach has several potential advantages over agricultural-based methods including protection from supply volatility, improved consistency, reduced cost, and lower environmental impact. Dr. Jason Poulos, CEO of Librede, explains: “The use of fermentation to produce these compounds represents the future of industrial scale cannabinoid production. As more cannabinoids are shown to have therapeutic value, we must find a way to produce these compounds in a sustainable way. Utilizing the synthetic power of biology allows us economical access to these compounds while minimizing environmental impacts. The future of all cannabinoid production may not be large farm fields but instead compact and highly efficient fermenters.”

Sproutly Canada CEO Keith Dolo On Water-based Cannabinoid Technologies

CANADA:   Sproutly Canada Inc (CNSX:SPR) CEO Keith Dolo outlines how Sproutly’s development of water-based cannabinoid technologies, allowing the body to absorb THC and CBD compounds through water-solubility, rather than traditional oil based absorption.

The benefit of water-soluble cannabinoids is the quickened onset and offset times of cannabinoid ingestion while providing a higher level of control pertaining to dosage and duration. Sproutly looks forward to marketing their edible and beverage products to the public in Canada next year as consumables become legal in Canada.

For more information, log on to www.sproutly.ca.
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nbNEhwYJMXc&w=560&h=315]

Nanoparticle Drones To Target Lung Cancer with Radiosensitizers And Cannabinoids

imageWilfred Ngwa1,2*, imageRajiv Kumar1,3imageMichele Moreau1,2imageRaymond Dabney4 and imageAllen Herman4

1Department of Radiation Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, United States
2University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, MA, United States
3Northeastern University, Boston, MA, United States
4Cannabis Science Inc., Irvine, CA, United States
 
CALIFORNIA: Nanotechnology has opened up a new, previously unimaginable world in cancer diagnosis and therapy, leading to the emergence of cancer nanomedicine and nanoparticle-aided radiotherapy. Smart nanomaterials (nanoparticle drones) can now be constructed with capability to precisely target cancer cells and be remotely activated with radiation to emit micrometer-range missile-like electrons to destroy the tumor cells. These nanoparticle drones can also be programmed to deliver therapeutic payloads to tumor sites to achieve optimal therapeutic efficacy. In this article, we examine the state-of-the-art and potential of nanoparticle drones in targeting lung cancer. Inhalation (INH) (air) versus traditional intravenous (“sea”) routes of navigating physiological barriers using such drones is assessed. Results and analysis suggest that INH route may offer more promise for targeting tumor cells with radiosensitizers and cannabinoids from the perspective of maximizing damage to lung tumors cells while minimizing any collateral damage or side effects.

Introduction

Nanomedicine, the application of nanotechnology to medicine, has opened a new, previously unimaginable world in cancer diagnosis and therapy. Today new multifunctional nanoplatforms or smart nanomaterials (nanoparticle drones) can be constructed and endowed with image contrast enhancement capabilities for techniques such as computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) (12) and can contain therapeutic payloads programmed for targeted delivery to disease sites (3). The vision of combining diagnostics and therapeutics, now being referred to as theranostics, was considered futuristic only a few years ago but is now clearly achievable—the future is almost now!

A) Cartoon showing both intravenous and inhalation (INH) delivery of nanoparticle drones; (B) TEM image of lung tumor targeted with drones; (C) absorption spectra of drone technology uniquely customized for INH delivery to lung tumors.

A) Cartoon showing both intravenous and inhalation (INH) delivery of nanoparticle drones; (B) TEM image of lung tumor targeted with drones; (C) absorption spectra of drone technology uniquely customized for INH delivery to lung tumors.

Recognizing the potential impact of nanomedicine, the National Cancer Institute created the Alliance for Cancer Nanotechnology to leverage the potential of nanotechnology toward transforming the way cancer is diagnosed, treated, or prevented. Projects funded by this Alliance have led to significant research breakthroughs and have even entered successful clinical trials (4). Today, cancer nanomedicine now includes burgeoning research and development in nanoparticle-aided radiotherapy (NRT). A recent article (5) provides a robust review of NRT developments for over a decade in NRT with gold nanoparticles (GNPs), highlighting emerging approaches, challenges, and opportunities for further research toward clinical translation. Beyond GNP, other research has highlighted the use of alternative nanoparticle platforms like gadolinium nanoparticles (67), hafnium nanoparticles (8), platinum-based chemotherapy drug platforms, and others with theranostic capability (910).

In general, the key goal for NRT and cancer drug development efforts is the same, which is to optimize therapeutic efficacy/ratio. To this end, recent advances in the design of smart nanomaterials proffer tremendous potential toward realizing this goal. Such smart materials (11) are specifically designed to be sensitive to a specific stimulus, such as temperature, magnetic field, ultrasound intensity, light or radiation, and pH, and to then respond in active ways including radiosensitization or changing their structure for drug delivery, or other functions that have the potential to cogently enhance treatment outcomes.

Gold nanoparticles provide an excellent template for building such nanoparticle drones. They are biocompatible radiosensitizers (5), proffering relatively no toxicity. They can readily interact with photons by the photoelectric effect, to emit missile-like photoelectrons or Auger electrons in the micrometer range, to substantially boost RT damage to cancer cells. In the photoelectric effect, photons interact with the nanomaterials, with the probability of photoelectric interaction inversely proportional to the cube of the photon energy (5). Once the photoelectron is emitted, this creates a vacancy that may be filled by an electron from a higher energy level. The resulting release of energy could then also knockout Auger electrons. The Auger electrons are shorter range and with high linear energy transfer, so can lead to highly localized damage. Such highly localized damage to tumor cells can allow minimization of the primary radiotherapy dose and hence normal tissue toxicity. Nanoplatforms such as GNPs are also particularly attractive for building nanoparticle drones because they can provide CT and photoacoustic imaging contrast and are suitable for drug loading and attaching targeting moieties. Depending on surface functionalization, type of drug, and desired application, GNPs can be easily loaded with drugs or other molecules through either non-covalent interactions or covalent conjugation. Loading of drugs onto GNPs may improve their stability and biodistribution in biological media since the drugs are protected in the carrier. In short, multifunctional nanoparticle drones based on GNPs hold great promise in cancer nanomedicine.

 

Canadian Researchers Identify Genes That Give Cannabis Its Flavor

CANADA: University of British Columbia scientists have scanned the genome of cannabis plants to find the genes responsible for giving various strains their lemony, skunky or earthy flavors, an important step for the budding legal cannabis industry.

“The goal is to develop well-defined and highly-reproducible cannabis varieties. This is similar to the wine industry, which depends on defined varieties such as chardonnay or merlot for high value products,” said Jörg Bohlmann, a professor in the Michael Smith Laboratories and faculty of forestry at UBC. “Our genomics work can inform breeders of commercial varieties which genes to pay attention to for specific flavor qualities.”

The research is part of an ongoing collaboration between Bohlmann, graduate student Judith Booth, and Jonathan Page, an adjunct professor in the botany department who founded the cannabis testing and biotechnology company Anandia Labs.

They found about 30 terpene synthase genes that contribute to diverse flavours in cannabis. This number is comparable to similar genes that play a role in grapevine flavour for the wine industry. The genes the researchers discovered play a role in producing natural products like limonene, myrcene, and pinene in the cannabis plants.  These fragrant molecules are generally known in the industry as terpenes.

“The limonene compound produces a lemon-like flavour and myrcene produces the dank, earthy flavour characteristic of purple kush,” said Booth.

They also found a gene that produces the signature terpene of cannabis, beta-caryophyllene, which interacts with cannabinoid receptors in human cells along with other active ingredients in cannabis.

Bohlmann says the economic potential of a regulated cannabis industry is huge, but a current challenge is that growers are working with a crop that is not well standardized and highly variable for its key natural product profiles.

“There is a need for high-quality and consistent products made from well defined varieties.” he said.

The researchers say it will also be important to examine to what extent terpene compounds might interact with the cannabinoid compounds such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that confer the medicinal properties of cannabis.

The study was published today in PLOS ONE.

Pot Research Stalled Even As Legalization Gains Momentum

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Speaking by phone, Anthony Fabrizio was on a roll about his career in cannabis research when he suddenly fell silent. You could hear the San Francisco–based research director stammering, then grunting. Silence again.

Fabrizio returned to the conversation more than 10 seconds later. He chose his next words gingerly, like someone trying to find a light switch in a dark room, placing one hand in front of the other.

“I … just had a seizure,” he said. The research director for Terra Tech Corp., a public company based in Irvine, California, suffers absence seizures (sometimes called petit mal seizures) due to epilepsy. He credits smoking marijuana with reducing the number of seizures from about 20 a week to one every few months. Fabrizio, 27, a biochemist, has since become an evangelist for medical marijuana, which is legally available in 23 states and the nation’s capital, with legislation underway in other states.

Despite the growing momentum for pot legalization, marijuana remains one of the most difficult substances to study in the United States.

The DEA: Four Decades Of Impeding And Rejecting Science

This report, co-published by DPA and MAPS, illustrates a decades-long pattern of behavior that demonstrates the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA’s) inability to exercise its responsibilities in a fair and impartial manner or to act in accord with the scientific evidence.

The report’s case studies reveal a number of DEA practices that maintain the existing, scientifically unsupported drug scheduling system and obstruct research that might alter current drug schedules. In addition to marijuana, the report also examines the DEA’s speed in moving to ban MDMA, synthetic cannabinoids, and synthetic stimulants. In contrast to the DEA’s failure to act in a timely fashion when confronted with evidence for scheduling certain drugs less severely, the agency has shown repeatedly that it can move quickly when it wants to prohibit a substance.

The report recommends that responsibility for determining drug classifications and other health determinations should be completely removed from the DEA and transferred to another agency, perhaps even a non-governmental entity such as the National Academy of Sciences. The report also recommends the DEA should be ordered to end the federal government’s unjustifiable monopoly on the supply of research-grade marijuana available for federally approved research. No other drug is available from only a single governmental source for research purposes.

 

Legalizing medical marijuana doesn’t increase use among adolescents, study says

Parents and physicians concerned about an increase in adolescents’ marijuana use following the legalization of medical marijuana can breathe a sigh of relief. According to a new study at Rhode Island Hospital which compared 20 years worth of data from states with and without medical marijuana laws, legalizing the drug did not lead to increased use among adolescents. The study is published online in advance of print in theJournal of Adolescent Health.

“Any time a state considers legalizing medical marijuana, there are concerns from the public about an increase in drug use among teens,” said principal investigator Esther Choo, M.D., an attending physician in the department of emergency medicine at Rhode Island Hospital. “In this study, we examined 20 years worth of data, comparing trends in self-reported adolescent marijuana use between states with medical marijuana laws and neighboring states without the laws, and found no increase in marijuana use that could be attributed to the law.”

Choo continued, “This adds to a growing body of literature published over the past three years that is remarkably consistent in demonstrating that state medical marijuana policies do not have a downstream effect on adolescent drug use, as we feared they might.”

Currently, medical marijuana is legal in 21 states and the District of Columbia.

Oil Composition Boost Makes Hemp A Cooking Contender

GREAT BRITAIN:  Scientists at the University of York today report the development of hemp plants with a dramatically increased content of oleic acid. The new oil profile results in an attractive cooking oil that is similar to olive oil in terms of fatty acid content having a much longer shelf life as well as greater heat tolerance and potentially more industrial applications.

Researchers in the Centre for Novel Agricultural Products (CNAP) in the Department of Biology at York say that high  varieties are a major step towards developing hemp as a commercially attractive break crop for cereal farmers. The research is published in Plant Biotechnology Journal. [Read more…]

Japanese Study Shows Cannabinoids Inhibit Tumor Growth

JAPAN: In a recent study published in the August edition of the Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, Japanese researchers found cannabinoids to be useful in battling cancerous tumors. The study was conducted by initiating tumor growth in mice and treating them with synthetic cannabinoids. [Read more…]