Awards and recognition
Genome BC: cannabis traits unlocked for better regulation
Medical cannabis production is one of the fastest growing agri-biotech industries in BC, a province which is home to over 20% of Canada’s licensed producers of medical cannabis. The federal Cannabis Act, which is currently before parliament, will legalize the non-medical use of cannabis and further expand cannabis production and distribution into a regulated, multibillion-dollar industry. However, a major issue for the industry is access to well-defined cannabis varieties, with supporting scientific information on their select traits.
“Hundreds of different small molecules contribute to the chemical composition of cannabis,” says Dr. Jonathan Page, Founder and CEO of Anandia Labs. “Currently, the industry grows and supplies many different cannabis strains which vary in their chemical composition and therapeutic properties.”
The relevant molecules are those present on cannabis leaves and flowers, which together define the unique pharmacological and sensory properties of different cannabis products. Anandia Labs, in collaboration with renowned genomics expert Dr. Joerg Bohlmann, a Professor in UBC’s Michael Smith Laboratories, will develop new ways to identify and reference the genes that produce the select types of cannabis. This will support the development and regulation of cannabis varieties with optimized medical properties.
“This investment capitalizes on recent advances in cannabis genomics coupled with the development of a regulated cannabis agri-biotech industry,” says Dr. Catalina Lopez-Correa, Chief Scientific Officer and Vice President, Sectors. “We are also leveraging the genomics expertise in BC.”
Current patients will benefit from being able to access standardized cannabis products. In the future, non-medical cannabis will also be differentiated through specific characteristics.
This project, valued at approximately $250,000, is funded through Genome BC’s Sector Innovation Program. For more information on Genome BC’s funding programs, visit www.genomebc.ca.