KAMLOOPS — Thompson Rivers University has struck a partnership to explore the various products that can be made from marijuana, including pharmaceuticals, nutritional products, and industrial fibre.
The collaboration has been dubbed the Cannabis Bio-products Toolbox, and involves TRU, UBC Okanagan and industry partner Valens AgriTech and Supra THC Services.
Dr. Bruno Cinel, associate professor of chemistry at TRU, will use Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy to develop chemical fingerprints of the varieties of cannabis engineered by UBC Okanagan researchers. TRU is the only university outside the Lower Mainland with access to such a tool.
"Like tea, or like grapes for wine, when varieties of these plants are grown in different locations under different conditions you get different results. My role is to see what effects these changes have on the levels and types of beneficial compounds the plants are producing," Cinel says.
UBC Okanagan biology professor Michael Deyholos says cannabis "is a source of many potentially valuable products" but notes because of prohibition, "development of new products from cannabis has lagged behind other crops." He adds there are dozens of compounds in the plant that may have specific health benefits.
Neither university has a license to grow or store cannabis on campus but their industrial partner has facilities and licenses to grow more than 4,000 plants for research purposes.
The Cannabis Bio-products Toolbox is being funded via a three-year $330,000 research grant, with $90,000 allocated to Cinel's lab at TRU.
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