Cannabinoids, the molecules found in cannabis plants, are becoming an extremely popular industry with applications in pharmaceuticals, food, cosmetics and other areas. However, the traditional method of harvesting cannabinoids from plants has a huge impact on the environment, and the energy-intensive methods required to produce cannabis plants cost billions of dollars each year.

Fortunately, there are new innovations that make the process much less time-, energy- and resource-intensive. This paper examines two methods of producing rare cannabinoids – the traditional method of plant cultivation and the new biosynthetic method – and compares their impact on the environment.

Natural culture

Companies using the traditional process of cultivation, harvesting, extraction and purification face a major challenge when it comes to harvesting rare cannabinoids. Rare cannabinoids are only found in trace amounts in plants, which means you have to grow huge amounts of plants to collect only minute amounts of rare cannabinoids.

Considering the number of plants to be grown, equipment, fuel, fertilizer, water, labor hours, harvesting, extraction, and cleaning, the costs are economically unfeasible. This process consumes so much energy, natural resources, water and fertilizer that the final product is unaffordable for most consumers.

Growing crops requires hundreds of acres of land, thousands of pounds of fertilizer, thousands of gallons of water and thousands of hours of labor. Moreover, in addition to extraction and refining, this process consumes a significant amount of energy for the operation of the equipment. In addition, the final products may contain impurities and toxins caused by heavy metals, pesticides, pests, fungi, etc.

Biosynthesis

Biosynthesis is the production of a desired compound using the natural resources of the organism through biological processes. It produces compounds identical to those found in nature, and considers itself the optimal way to produce cannabinoids identical to their natural counterparts.

While growing plants is environmentally damaging, biosynthesis has a much lower impact on the environment because it requires far fewer resources. Biosynthesis requires over 90% less energy, natural resources and man-hours, and no fertilizers, pollutants or toxins are needed. There are also no extraction and cleaning costs.

Biosynthesis requires only 6,000 square feet to produce as many rare cannabinoids as hundreds of acres of plants. This process results in medicinal, organic, non-GMO products that are 70-90% cheaper than growing on plants, resulting in more affordable cannabinoid products for consumers.

With climate change becoming an increasingly pressing issue, it is essential that we focus on more environmentally friendly methods of producing cannabinoids. Biosynthesis offers a method of producing cannabinoids that requires far less time, energy and natural resources than growing plants, resulting not only in less environmental impact, but also in safer and cheaper products.

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