A cannabis company in Colorado is planning to send coffee, hemp and cannabis cultures into space to see if the plant components will mutate or change at all under different conditions.
According to Vice, SpaceX will deliver the shipment to the International Space Station where the cannabis samples will be incubated for 30 days. The goal is to find whether or not the cannabis will change by being exposed to microgravity or space radiation.
The company conducting the study, Front Range Biosciences, is an agricultural biotech company that breeds genetically consistent hemp and coffee varieties. For this project, they partnered with tech startup Space Cells and the University of Colorado, Boulder. In total, they will launch more than 480 plant cell cultures in an incubator made for space. They should make it to space in March of 2020.
“This is the first time anyone is researching the effects of microgravity and spaceflight on hemp and coffee cell cultures,” said Jonathan Vaught, co-founder and CEO of Front Range Biosciences. “There is science to support the theory that plants in space experience mutations. This is an opportunity to see whether those mutations hold up once brought back to earth and if there are new commercial applications.”
The cells will stay in space for a month, and then they’ll be returned to Earth, analyzed and evaluated. “We are excited to learn more about both hemp and coffee gene expression in microgravity and how that will inform our breeding programs,” said Reggie Gaudino, VP of research and development at Front Range.
This isn’t the first time cannabis has made a trip beyond the horizon. Cannabis seeds were sent to space earlier this year. It may not be long until there is even more connection between cannabis and the great beyond.