The Clemson University College of Agriculture, Forestry, and Life Sciences is working with Curio Wellness to conduct a two-year research project to advance plant tissue science for the medical cannabis industry.
Headquartered in Timonium, Maryland, Curio Wellness is a licensed medical cannabis company and innovator of health and wellness products derived from cannabis. Matt Taylor is the applied science director for Curio Wellness.
“Clemson University is recognized as one of the top agricultural and horticultural schools in the world,” Taylor said. “Through our partnership, we are building the knowledge base for cannabis tissue culture, which in its current state is inadequately understood. The ultimate goal is genetic preservation, which will enable us to continue cultivating high quality, plant-based medicine for patients in Maryland and beyond.”
Tissue culture is an important tool in horticulture and involves growing plants aseptically or in an environment free of microorganisms and pathogens. It is used for biological research, plant breeding, and propagation across important crops such as sweet potatoes, bananas, grapes, roses, berries, hops, and many ornamental plants. The aim is to protect plants from viral pathogens while improving production efficiency.
Jeff Adelberg, an expert in plant tissue culture and a horticulture professor at Clemson, will lead a team involving both the University and Curio Wellness in the study.
“This project is unique in that both organizations will conduct research using our individual plant collections,” Adelberg said. “Research conducted at Clemson will be shared with Curio for use on their plants in Maryland. They have the medical expertise to create the best products from cannabis. This collaboration creates an opportunity for researchers from both institutions to use their knowledge to benefit people.”
The 2018 U.S. Farm Bill established the United States Department of Agriculture’s Hemp Production Program, legalizing industrial hemp production. The South Carolina Hemp Farming Program is administered by the South Carolina Department of Agriculture.
Clemson’s research involves using industrial hemp, a strain of the same plant as marijuana but without intoxicating effects. Legal production began in South Carolina in 2019. Both hemp and marijuana are strains of the Cannabis sativa plant species. They are distinguished by their chemistry. Hemp has much lower concentrations of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive substance for which marijuana is known.
By law, the industrial hemp must have less than 0.3% THC, while marijuana may contain between 10 and 100 times that concentration. By contrast, hemp has higher concentrations of cannabidiol, or CBD, which does not have the same psychoactive effects as THC but is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in controlling epileptic seizures.
Michael Bronfein, Curio Wellness’s chief executive officer, said this latest research collaboration is an example of the company’s continued commitment to innovation that reimagines the way medical cannabis is cultivated and delivered to patients.
“At Curio, everything we do is rooted in scientifically derived methods and processes, which means our investment in research and development is fundamental to our operating strategy and the quality and consistency of our products,” Bronfein said. “This research partnership with Clemson is a prime example of how Curio is investing in the future of medical cannabis for our patients and everyone in need of safe, effective, and reliable health solutions.” The research begins in August 2022.
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