Using CRISPR Genome Editing Tools, Willow Biosciences out with First Synthetic Cannabinoid

We see this new ingredient appearing advertised and in products everywhere. On the billboards, in the new shops next to our favorite restaurant, on the counters at the barbershop and when we pick up our prescriptions at the pharmacy.


It has to do with the ongoing revolution that’s happening around the country—around the world—regarding the deregulation of marijuana. But there’s another revolution that will change our consumption of cannabinoids. That of synthetic biology.

Biologists, chemists, and engineers will be providing us CBD in more pure and larger quantities at a much cheaper price synthetically than farmers will. It will come in many of the products we use, including nutraceuticals, personal care products, and pharmaceuticals.

Chris Savile joins us today. He’s the Chief Operating Officer at Willow Biosciences, a Canadian biotech company that began producing it’s first synthetic cannabinoid earlier this month. Interestingly, it is not CBD, but rather CBG or cannabigerol. Did you know there are over a hundred cannabinoids, and CBG cannot be isolated by traditionally farming?

Join us to learn how new CRISPR based whole genome editing tools are enabling a new industry to develop.

Arcadia Biosciences Pivots to Bring Us Non-GMO, High Fiber GoodWheat and Better Cannabis

Today we're joined by Matt Plavan, President of Arcadia Specialty Genomics.

The last time we talked with someone from Arcadia Bioscience, a biotech company working on plant genomics in Davis, California, they were confronting GMO regulatory hurdles.

Which was a pity. They had created these great new strains of rice and soybeans, among other crops, that were being held from market due to regulations in Southeast Asia. This at a time when world population is . . . well, you know what its doing.

That was then. Today Arcadia has pivoted to some new crops with some new technology. They have developed a new fiber rich wheat called GoodWheat(TM) that is also lower in gluten and thus matches our modern diets. (And as the author can attest, it's quite tasty in pasta.)  The other cool thing about this wheat is that it is not GM according to most regulatory agencies.

Developed with a technology called “tilling,” the wheat is considered “gene-edited” but not genetically modified and therefore not regulated by most countries. For example, see the ruling made by Australia in the last month.

The company has also set up a division to improve the cannabis seed which, because of its illegality, was bypassed by the two crop revolutions of the past fifty years. You might be familiar with THC and CBD, two main cannabinoids in the plant. But did you know there are 250 such cannabinoids that might prove . . . well, interesting?