Legal THC?

Can a legal plant that produces THC be engineered? Surely there would be a market for a legal and common plant to produce THC.
Waverly Hall, Georgia

It might seem that the DNA responsible for THC production is easy enough to transfer from cannabis to other organisms. There are a lot of incentives to transfer the DNA to another organism. Perhaps one use would be to isolate the specific genes responsible for THC analogs used for treating disease. Then they could be “manufactured” in another organism. Another would be to create standardized brands of marijuana.

I think people are willing to accept transgenic drugs, but they will tend to shy away from herbs or recreational drugs if they realize that they are genetically modified. Without labeling, which is not now required by law, who’s to know?

One of the main candidates for a legal plant would be tobacco. Tobacco’s genetics is widely mapped and it is used as an experimental model all the time. Imagine a tobacco leaf without nicotine. The leaf looks like it is littered with crystal dust. It shines brilliant in the sun. It is peak summer and the glands will be ripe by mid-August. People don’t smoke the vegetative matter any more, but do vaporize glands from the different varieties. Each is designed for its mood altering characteristics. That would be a strange world. Back to reality.

It is more likely that the code would be transferred to yeast. Their DNA is well deciphered and they have been used and manipulated by humans for thousands of years. Yeast don’t need light, just water, sugar, nutrients and a suitable temperature and they’d be ready to produce THC shortly after they enter the wort (the sterilized brew). The crop would be ready in five days. Home brewers would use the THC they refine from the brew in cooking and vaporizers.

However, if the current crop of politicians or their ideological progeny are in power when this happens, they would surely outlaw the transgenic THC carrier, too. Let’s just focus on legalizing the real herb.

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