Front Range Biosciences Partners With University of California, Davis For Cannabis Genomics Research

Agricultural biotech company collaborates with world’s leading agriculture school for research

CALIFORNIA: Front Range Biosciences, a leading agricultural biotech company, has launched a genomics research initiative with the University of California, Davis, to advance understanding of cannabis for medical and nutraceutical uses.  The research team consists of Professor Dario Cantu in the Department of Viticulture and Enology, research scientists in the Cantu lab, and members of the FRB team.

“We have successfully applied cutting-edge DNA sequencing technologies and computational approaches to study challenging genomes of diverse crops and associated microorganisms. We are now excited to have the opportunity to study the genome of hemp. Decoding its genome will allow us to gain new insight into the genetic bases of complex pathways of secondary metabolism in plants,” said Dr. Cantu.

“UC Davis is renowned as the leading agriculture university in the world and we are excited to work with Dr. Cantu’s team to improve this crop to reduce pesticide residues and excessive application of fertilizers, in preparation for production targeting medically beneficial compounds,” said Dr. Jonathan Vaught, CEO of FRB.

During the project, FRB will isolate DNA from hemp cultivars that are low in THC and solely for industrial uses. The company will send these DNA samples to UC Davis for Next-Generation Sequencing and bioinformatic analysis to create a better genome reference for cannabis.

To fund the project, FRB pledged a gift, to be fulfilled over a one-year period, to The Regents of University of California to support UC Davis’ development and annotation of the cannabis genome. FRB gift will cover costs related to supplies, DNA and RNA sequencing, assembly and annotation of the cannabis genome.

Medical Marijuana Legalization Associated With Fewer Opioid-Related Hospitalizations

CALIFORNIA: The enactment of statewide legislation permitting medical cannabis access by qualified patients is associated with a reduction in opioid-related hospitalization, according to data published online ahead of print in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

A researcher from the University of California at San Diego assessed the association between medical cannabis laws and hospitalizations related to opioid pain relievers. The author reported both immediate and longer-term reductions in opioid-related hospitalization following changes in law.

“This study demonstrated significant reductions on OPR- (opioid pain reliever) related hospitalizations associated with the implementation of medical marijuana policies. … We found reductions in OPR-related hospitalizations immediately after the year of policy implementation as well as delayed reductions in the third post-policy year.”

The author also dismissed contentions that liberalized marijuana laws were associated with any subsequent increase in marijuana-related hospital admissions, concluding: “While the interpretation of the results should remain cautious, this study suggested that medical marijuana policies were not associated with marijuana-related hospitalizations. Instead, the policies were unintendedly associated with substantial reductions in OPR related hospitalizations.”

The findings are consistent with those of other studies reporting that medical cannabis legalization is associated with lower rates of opioid abusemortality, and prescription drug spending.

Smoke Pot, Lose Weight?

In 2005, a team of medical researchers at the University of Florida published a small study which seemed to turn cannabis science on its head. Examining the charts of female adults who had been referred for obesity/weight management over a 12-month period, they found a clear inverse correlation between Body Mass Index (BMI, a common measure of obesity) and cannabis use

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