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Module attached to the International Space Station of NASA. Photo by: Getty Images.

As legal marijuana gains continue to reach stratospheric heights, it appears that the cannabis plant itself could expand into space – 250 miles above the Earth within NASA's International Space Station (ISS).

Researchers at biotech company Space Tango, which specializes in the research and production of microgravity environments, want to test the cannabis plant's response to novel environments such as space travel. Orbiting the Earth in the stress-free atmosphere of space could only provide the pharmacological results that scientists seek.

"When we send plants to the International Space Station, we eliminate a nucleus, the constant force that plants are well-adjusted to – gravity," Dr. Joe Chappell, a member of the Space Tango Science Advisory Team and specialist in drug development and design, has helped with previous ISS experiments. "When plants are stressed, they pull out of a genetic reservoir to produce compounds that allow them to adapt and survive."

Cannabidiol is a major ingredient that Chappell refers to – and only one of over 100 known cannabinoids found in cannabis. A current star therapeutic compound of the plant (referred to as CBD and non-psychoactive, so it does not produce the level of marijuana), it has gained wide popularity in recent years and proved to be a cure for a variety of physical illnesses. His most impressive feature is his ability to minimize severe seizures in epileptic patients. An important factor in the development of cannabis as a medicine, the recently increased status of CBD this year was further consolidated with the approval of the CBD-based drug Epidiolex by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Food and Drug Administration. An unprecedented step by the two subordinate bodies, as cannabis generally continues to remain a List 1 drug (along with heroin and LSD) and is therefore illegal at the federal level in the US.

Space Tango's CubeLab modules are used by NASA's International Space Station.Courtesy of Space Tango

The strategy of Space Tango to test on hemp plants rather than on marijuana plants has to do with the fact that hemp contains less than 0.03 percent THC, the high-inducing compound in cannabis. At this level, there is no psychoactive effect at all – unlike marijuana, which is abused as a drug. Impetus for Space Tango's move also follows efforts by US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to legalize hemp at federal level with this year's Farm Bill, which includes the 2018 Hemp Agriculture Act. Hemp advocates believe this to be the case It will only be a matter of time before the Schedule-1 shackles are removed from cannabis, which will allow pharmaceutical interests to freely release new drugs from these more than 100 potentially curative cannabinoids research and develop.

NASA is no stranger to plant cultivation. Nicknamed "Veggie," the vegetable production system is a plant growth module launched in 2014 that produces edible greens, "to provide the crew with a tasty, nutritious and safe source of fresh food and a tool to help them relax and recover." NASA. "Veggie is also used for basic space biology experiments such as the Advanced Plant Experiments series and educational space biology activities."

On the wave of new biological experiments on the ISS, Space Tango has developed modules called CubeLabs, which are fully automatic laboratory systems that allow multiple payloads to fly independently as they orbit the Earth. Their laboratory facilities provide interactive Earth management and the ability to download images and data from the station in near real time. With a proven track record of conducting space experiments in space, Space Tango collaborated with Anheuser-Busch in 2017 on a project to test barley in the stress-free atmosphere of spacecraft. These data provided important insights into seed exposure and seed germination.

In collaboration with Atalo Holdings of Kentucky, an Ag-Tech company that will provide certified hemp seed and know-how, there is hope to investigate the evolution of certain promising hemp strains without gravitational pressure. The online retailer Anavii Market, a source of hemp CBD therapeutics, will also join the cooperation, which is scheduled to launch in February 2019.

"Understanding how plants respond in an environment that eliminates the traditional stress of gravity can provide new insights into how adjustments can be made and how researchers can use such changes to discover new properties, features, biomedical applications, and efficacy "Chappell said.

Space Tango's upcoming research could be another positive step in the evolution of cannabis as a medicine and the release of the cannabis plant into free markets.

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Module attached to the International Space Station of NASA. Photo by: Getty Images.

As legal marijuana gains continue to reach stratospheric heights, it appears that the cannabis plant itself could expand into space – 250 miles above the Earth within NASA's International Space Station (ISS).

Researchers at biotech company Space Tango, which specializes in the research and production of microgravity environments, want to test the cannabis plant's response to novel environments such as space travel. Orbiting the Earth in the stress-free atmosphere of space could only provide the pharmacological results that scientists seek.

"When we send plants to the International Space Station, we eliminate a nucleus, the constant force that plants are well-adjusted to – gravity," Dr. Joe Chappell, a member of the Space Tango Science Advisory Team and specialist in drug development and design, has helped with previous ISS experiments. "When plants are stressed, they pull out of a genetic reservoir to produce compounds that allow them to adapt and survive."

Cannabidiol is a major ingredient that Chappell refers to – and only one of over 100 known cannabinoids found in cannabis. A current star therapeutic compound of the plant (referred to as CBD and non-psychoactive, so it does not produce the level of marijuana), it has gained wide popularity in recent years and proved to be a cure for a variety of physical illnesses. His most impressive feature is his ability to minimize severe seizures in epileptic patients. An important factor in the development of cannabis as a medicine, the recently increased status of CBD this year was further consolidated with the approval of the CBD-based drug Epidiolex by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Food and Drug Administration. An unprecedented step by the two subordinate bodies, as cannabis generally continues to remain a List 1 drug (along with heroin and LSD) and is therefore illegal at the federal level in the US.

Space Tango's CubeLab modules are used by NASA's International Space Station.Courtesy of Space Tango

The strategy of Space Tango to test on hemp plants rather than on marijuana plants has to do with the fact that hemp contains less than 0.03 percent THC, the high-inducing compound in cannabis. At this level, there is no psychoactive effect at all – unlike marijuana, which is abused as a drug. Impetus for Space Tango's move also follows efforts by US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to legalize hemp at federal level with this year's Farm Bill, which includes the 2018 Hemp Agriculture Act. Hemp advocates believe this to be the case It will only be a matter of time before the Schedule-1 shackles are removed from cannabis, which will allow pharmaceutical interests to freely release new drugs from these more than 100 potentially curative cannabinoids research and develop.

NASA is no stranger to plant cultivation. Nicknamed "Veggie," the vegetable production system is a plant growth module launched in 2014 that produces edible greens, "to provide the crew with a tasty, nutritious and safe source of fresh food and a tool to help them relax and recover." NASA. "Veggie is also used for basic space biology experiments such as the Advanced Plant Experiments series and educational space biology activities."

On the wave of new biological experiments on the ISS, Space Tango has developed modules called CubeLabs, which are fully automatic laboratory systems that allow multiple payloads to fly independently as they orbit the Earth. Their laboratory facilities provide interactive Earth management and the ability to download images and data from the station in near real time. With a proven track record of conducting space experiments in space, Space Tango collaborated with Anheuser-Busch in 2017 on a project to test barley in the stress-free atmosphere of spacecraft. These data provided important insights into seed exposure and seed germination.

In collaboration with Atalo Holdings of Kentucky, an Ag-Tech company that will provide certified hemp seed and know-how, there is hope to investigate the evolution of certain promising hemp strains without gravitational pressure. The online retailer Anavii Market, a source of hemp CBD therapeutics, will also join the cooperation, which is scheduled to launch in February 2019.

"Understanding how plants respond in an environment that eliminates the traditional stress of gravity can provide new insights into how adjustments can be made and how researchers can use such changes to discover new properties, features, biomedical applications, and efficacy "Chappell said.

Space Tango's upcoming research could be another positive step in the evolution of cannabis as a medicine and the release of the cannabis plant into free markets.

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