The Atlantic

A Cannabis High, No Plant Required

Scientists think they can re-create marijuana’s active ingredients with brewer’s yeast.
Source: Richard Vogel / AP

Fermentation-powered brewing has been getting people drunk for thousands of years. Soon, it could be getting them high, too.

In research announced on Wednesday by the University of California at Berkeley, a team of synthetic biologists modified brewer’s yeast to produce a range of cannabinoids, which are compounds in cannabis that affect the brain and body. The technique opens up the possibility of circumventing the need for large-scale plant cultivation, and the findings could conceivably make high-quality, reasonably priced cannabinoids much more accessible for pharmaceutical development and recreational consumer products.

For longtime cannabis advocates, though, this new

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic10 min readPolitics
The Impartial Justice
As the Court shifted around him, John Paul Stevens endeavored to remain neutral, transparent, and focused on liberty.
The Atlantic5 min read
The Puzzling Ubiquity of Ed Sheeran
The strummer’s No. 6 Collaborations Project reveals the blend of sentimentality, humblebragging, and hip-hop swiping that has powered his success.
The Atlantic4 min readPolitics
What Is Britain’s Responsibility to Hong Kong?
Even if London wanted to play a bigger role in its former colony’s impasse with China, it lacks the leverage.