In a ground-breaking development, Paarl-based Afriplex has moved into the production of cannabinoids through biological processes instead of from the cannabis plant. The company announced on 30 June 2021 that it was looking to be a producer of modified Cannabigerol (CBG), and would be taking an entirely new approach.
Hello heterologous biosynthetic technology
“The biosynthesis of cannabinoids in organisms other than the cannabis plant, is a first for South Africa”, said Danie Nel, Director of Afriplex.
Nel said: “Technological advances will open up opportunities to manufacture actives currently only produced in plant systems. Heterologous, biosynthetic technology can overcome the economic challenges to produce naturally manufactured, high purity actives.”
Cannabigerol (CBG) is present in certain Cannabis sativa L. strains and is being extracted by Afriplex. However, CBG could also be produced by other biological processes. Afriplex has joined forces with a leading international research group as well as the Cannabis Research Institute (CRI) of South Africa in a research program, unveiling the expertise from all collaborating partners.
The production of CBG by biological organisms other than the cannabis plant, also known as heterologous hosts, involves the combination of simple compounds to form complex products. Cannabinoids can be produced at a higher purity, speed and consistency following a multi-step, enzyme-catalysed process in heterologous hosts where genes provide the reactions for the host to perform. In addition, the environmental impact for the bulk production of low-abundant cannabinoids from heterologous hosts is far lower than traditional agricultural practices.
CBG is non-psychoactive but a strong receptor-binder
CBG is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid produced by the cannabis plant, naturally existing in trace amounts. Although clinical research on CBG is sparse, preliminary studies suggest that CBG can relieve symptoms of pain, inflammation, nausea, and works to slow the proliferation of certain cancer cells.
Like cannabidiol (CBD), CBG does not cause psychoactive effects in live organisms. CBD and CBG have similar therapeutic benefits, however CBG binds more strongly to cannabinoid receptors than CBD. In addition, CBG works as a buffer to the psychoactive effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and may even alleviate feelings of paranoia often associated with consuming high levels of THC.
Afriplex is excited to extend its wide range of cannabis offerings with the inclusion of novel CBG produced by cutting edge technology. Consumers will now be able to access the therapeutic benefits of CBG in a way that is more cost-effective, reliable, and environmentally friendly than traditional agricultural methods.