We’re Combining Our Knowledge of Human and Cannabis Genetics to Enable Better Treatment
Medicinal Genomics and its parent company, Courtagen Life Sciences, have seen the unique healing power of the cannabis plant first hand. Many physicians who use Courtagen genetic testing to diagnose neurological diseases have successfully treated their patients with Cannabidiol (CBD) and other cannabis-based medicines.
The leadership team at Courtagen quickly realized that the technology used to ensure the safety and quality of medical cannabis for patients was limited. As a result, Medicinal Genomics Corporation was established in 2011 to develop genetics-based solutions that help growers, dispensaries, and quality testing labs characterize and understand the quality of medicinal cannabis.
Decoding the Cannabis Genome
In 2011, Medicinal Genomics became the first company to sequence the cannabis genome. Today, the Medicinal Genomics team continues to sequence cannabis strains alongside the Courtagen team in the same CLIA-certified genetics testing laboratory. The two teams also share a sophisticated bioinformatics pipeline that interprets the DNA data.
Medicinal Genomics has also created the StrainSEEK™ strain identification and registration service that cannabis cultivators can use to register their strain’s unique genetics and protect their intellectual property. The strain’s genetics are published to the BitCoin Blockchain and a webpage is created on Kannapedia.net as a way for them to communicate the strain’s key characteristics (cannabinoids, terpenoids, etc.) and genetic relationship to other registered strains.
To date, Medicinal Genomics has sequenced over 1,000 cannabis strains, gathering important information that can be used to find genetic markers for certain plant characteristics.
Medicinal Genomics has developed a collection of genetics-based microbial tests that labs across the country use to identify harmful yeast, mold, and bacteria that are a threat to immunocompromised patients who use cannabis for medicine.
Our peer reviewed research has shown the industry standard for measuring microbial contamination on cannabis, culture plating, does a poor job detecting some of the most harmful microbes, including Aspergillus, a fungal species that is responsible for the only documented death related to medical cannabis use.
Culture based-tests that are commonly used in the field have never been validated on cannabis, and thus will often grow off-target species and produce false-positive results. False positives are a threat to patients who use cannabis because cultivators will often treat the “failed” cannabis material with harmful fungicides, such as Myclobutanil (also known as Eagle 20), to kill anything living on the plant. The toxicity and health effects of myclobutanil when it is inhaled have not been assessed, and it is not approved for use on tobacco.
Connecting Human and Cannabis Genetics
Medicinal Genomics and Courtagen are in a unique position to explore how a person’s unique genetics can affect their response to cannabis. Courtagen and Medicinal Genomics are currently working with the physicians who are participating in the GW Pharmaceuticals Epidiolex clinical trial to genetically sequence their patients. Courtagen is looking at specific genes within the endocannabinoid system to find which variations influence a patient’s ability to benefit from CBD treatment.
Courtagen has also begun mining its database of neurological patient DNA to look for connections to the endocannabinoid system and patterns that may indicate a response to cannabis treatment.