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Science of cannabis: #3 The weed of the future

New Scientist Podcasts

17-12-2023 • 23 mins

Cannabis is one of the oldest products of human cultivation. And as it becomes increasingly legal for medical and recreational use around the world, its popularity is growing as well – even as researchers, limited by government prohibitions of the past and present, race to understand how the hundreds of chemicals in pot actually affect us and what the benefits and risks may be.

But the object of all this research is itself changing: cannabis consumed today is more than ten times more potent than pot of the past. And even as we begin to understand the breathtaking environmental costs of cultivation – both legal and illicit – we’re already finding ways we might harvest its benefits without even growing a single plant.

In the final episode of this three-part special series on the science of cannabis, Christie Taylor visits what the future may hold for hemp and how this plant fits into society writ large. From meaningful regulation of driving while stoned to tweaking that distinctive but controversial skunky odor and the high tech promise of making CBD in yeast.

Learn more: The team at New Scientist investigates cannabis and the brain, the environmental cost of growing cannabis and other questions in this special reporting series. Visit newscientist.com/cannabis


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