Teewinot Patent for Bioengineered Cannabinoids
2 min

Irish Pharma Teewinot Patent for Bioengineered Cannabinoids

2 min

As more is understood about different elements of the cannabis plant, the race is on to bioengineer specific cannabinoids separately - so they are indistinguishable from the cannabinoids in cannabis. Irish pharma Teewinot has just filed for a new patent in this space.

One of the biggest looming battles in the medical cannabis space is “natural product” vs. pharmaceutically created one – a heated debate for many governments across the world. Meanwhile, pharma companies continue to move into the cannabinoid as medication by securing patents on new products.

Irish company Teewinot secured a patent right before the New Year to allow it to make “biosynthesized” cannabinoids – in other words, cannabinoids from a bioengineered process that mimics the real thing.


Essentially, the company has engineered a process to make cannabinoids that are identical to those found in the actual plant, but are more “pharmaceutically pure” than the naturally occurring variety. This process, in other words, creates the ability to also isolate specific cannabinoids found naturally in cannabis, manufacture them as standalone compounds and better tailor them to specific conditions.

How Teewinot’s efforts will work as it positions itself in the market, however, is another story. The interplay between cannabinoids as well as the impact of other parts of the plant including terpenes and flavonoids, is still a vast unknown. Unlike synthetic lab production, biosynthesis is, in fact, able to reproduce both cannabinoids and terpenes in a chemical process that is just like the real thing albeit in tailor made quantities – and further do so at a fraction of the cost. In theory, it would allow the company to replicate the entourage effect that natural cannabis boasts over most pharmaceutical replications, and even tailor them to specific ailments. But how this works out in the real world is still yet to be seen. The entourage effect, to put simply, is the various cannabinoids and other active compounds of cannabis all working together to have effects that equal more than the sum of their parts.

That is precisely why companies like Teewinot are moving into the space, clearly anticipating that at least a segment of the market will either turn voluntarily or be forced to turn via regulatory mandate, to manufactured rather than raw products.


Efforts to biosynthesize cannabis are not new. Last year, researchers at a German university managed to synthesize cannabis compounds using yeast.

The implications on the industry could be profound. Not only could the biotech industry isolate cannabinoids expressed in the plant itself for new medications and treatments, but further, they could manufacture and use other compounds that do not occur in great amounts in the actual plant for specific purposes. One such example of the same is the cannabinoid CBDV, which GW Pharma is studying for use in its epilepsy drugs.


While the impact of such technology won’t be felt immediately, it is clearly a coming trend in the industry. For that reason, growers who overextend themselves in terms of growing acreage or ability may find themselves sooner rather than later facing competition not from overseas or even other states, but rather from compounds produced naturally, albeit in a lab for specific medical conditions and for which plant extracts are largely extraneous.

There will clearly always be a demand for cannabis flower – let's face it, there is nothing quite like sampling your own home grown bud, and growing your own give you freedom to choose - instead of giving money to an already over-ripe pharmaceutical industry. However, it is clear that the market is rapidly getting more sophisticated as reform rolls on - and if natural cannabinoids can be replicated and mixed in ways that mimic cannabis identically, many governments are sure to flock to it as a "legitimate" source.


  Marguerite Arnold  

Written by: Marguerite Arnold
With years of writing experience under her belt, Marguerite dedicates her time to exploring the cannabis industry and the developments of the legalisation movement.

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Steven Voser
Steven Voser
Steven Voser is an independent cannabis journalist with over 6 years of experience writing about all things weed; how to grow it, how best to enjoy it, and the booming industry and murky legal landscape surrounding it.
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