Engineered yeast can brew up the active ingredients in cannabis plants

New Scientist

Genes from the cannabis plant have been added to yeast strains to enable them to make cannabinoids, key chemicals from the plant that have therapeutic value. The "cannayeasts" should make it possible to turn sugar into pure forms of many different cannabinoids, and to do so more cheaply and with less environmental damage than farming. "It gives us access to all these rare cannabinoids that might even be better therapeutics," says Jay Keasling at the University of California, Berkeley, who led the team behind the work. Our bodies produce cannabinoids to help regulate everything from memory to appetite. Marijuana plants make more than 100 chemicals that can also bind to the cannabinoid receptors in our nervous system.


Synthetic pot cases spike in Illinois, officials warn users may experience 'bleeding from eyes and ears'

FOX News

This photo provided Friday, Aug. 7, 2015 by New York Police Department shows packets of synthetic marijuana seized after a search warrant was served at a newsstand in Brooklyn, N.Y. Emergency rooms in Illinois are noticing a spike in synthetic pot users suffering from "severe bleeding," and state health officials are warning the public to remain vigilant. The Illinois Department of Health (IDPH) issued a statement on Wednesday announcing that at least six people in northeastern Illinois had been hospitalized after using the man-made substance -- also known as "fake weed," "K2" or "spice." On Saturday, the number of cases climbed to 38, including one death, the health department reported. There are now cases in at least eight Chicago-area communities including Cook County, Dupage County, Kane County, McLean County, Peoria County, Tazewell County and Will County.


Synthetic pot cases spike in Illinois, officials warn users may experience 'bleeding from eyes and ears'

FOX News

This photo provided Friday, Aug. 7, 2015 by New York Police Department shows packets of synthetic marijuana seized after a search warrant was served at a newsstand in Brooklyn, N.Y. Emergency rooms in Illinois are noticing a spike in synthetic pot users suffering from "severe bleeding," and state health officials are warning the public to remain vigilant. The Illinois Department of Health (IDPH) issued a statement on Wednesday announcing that at least six people in northeastern Illinois had been hospitalized after using the man-made substance -- also known as "fake weed," "K2" or "spice." On Friday, the number of cases climbed to 32, the health department reported. There are now cases in at least eight Chicago-area communities including Cook County, Dupage County, Kane County, McLean County, Peoria County, Tazewell County and Will County.


Researchers genetically modify yeast to 'brew' THC and CBD

Engadget

Scientists in California have created a cheaper, safer, environmentally-friendly way to produce cannabinoids, the chemical compounds that give cannabis its many medicinal (and mind-altering) qualities. The trick is in using genetically modified brewer's yeast to produce cannabinoids, rather than ethanol, according to research published today by the University of California, Berkeley. The researchers identified more than a dozen genes -- including many used by the cannabis plant to synthesize cannabinoids -- and inserted them into the yeast. The genes create enzymes that start a series of chemical reactions, and in a process much like brewing beer, those reactions turn sugar into cannabigerolic acid. From that, a long list of cannabinoids can be produced, including THC and CBD, the latter of which you can now find touted as a cure-all at your local gas station.


Fake weed in Illinois leaves 2 dead, dozens with 'severe bleeding'

FOX News

This photo provided Friday, Aug. 7, 2015 by New York Police Department shows packets of synthetic marijuana seized after a search warrant was served at a newsstand in Brooklyn, N.Y. Emergency rooms in Illinois are noticing a spike in synthetic pot users suffering from "severe bleeding," and state health officials are warning the public to remain vigilant. The Illinois Department of Health (IDPH) issued a statement on last week announcing that at least six people in northeastern Illinois had been hospitalized after using the man-made substance -- also known as "fake weed," "K2" or "spice." On Monday, the number of cases climbed to 56, including two deaths, the health department reported. "All cases have required hospitalization for symptoms such as coughing up blood, blood in the urine, severe bloody nose, and/or bleeding gums," the IDPH said.