BioHarvest grows cannabis cells and trichomes in liquid media

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cannabis research

The increasing value of both recreational and medicinal cannabis around the world is driving a need to purify large quantities of full-spectrum and individual cannabinoids for use in vapes, beverages, and capsules. BioHarvest—a plant-cell growth company—has announced that it can now grow cannabis cells and trichomes in liquid media, a process with the potential to produce large quantities of full-spectrum cannabinoids in a predictable and efficient consistent way.

The resin-secreting growths on the surface of female cannabis flowers, trichomes grow out of cultured cannabis cells in liquid media and produce a full complement of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids, similar to what is produced by the glandular trichomes of the female cannabis plants. The company’s patented technology used to grow trichomes in vitro is independent of the genetics of the cultured cannabis cell line.

The production of these trichomes in liquid media uses the company’s patented BioFarming platform, which has previously been used to manufacture a resveratrol-containing powder from red grape cells cultured in vitro. The cannabis product is a powder that can be formulated into market-ready products.

“This forms the foundation of a scalable manufacturing capability of cannabinoids and terpenes and flavonoids,” said BioHarvest CEO Ilan Sobel, who believes this improves the company’s ability to commercialize full-spectrum cannabinoids. According to the company, the BioHarvest production facility can produce one ton of cannabis powder per year and hopes to increase this ten-fold within a year.

While other companies are developing techniques for purifying individual cannabinoids from cell-based bioreactors, this new technique might better support the application of the so-called entourage effect, as it produces a mixture of cannabinoids and terpenes similar to what is found in the plant.

BioHarvest believes its process will allow large-scale, cost-efficient production of cleaner cannabinoid products because it does not rely on the many chemicals—pesticides, fungicides, and fertilizers—required for plant-grown cannabis.