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Space Beckons For The Rocketing U.S. Hemp Industry

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Written by Peter McCusker
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It’s safe to say the boom in U.S. hemp growing can now be described as being, literally ‘out of this world’.

For the first time hemp cultures are being fired into space to see how they react to a zero-gravity environment. Around 480 hemp and coffee cultures will be carried on Elon Musk’s SpaceX rocket for cultivation in the International Space Station.

Provided by Front Range Biosciences, their growth will be monitored remotely and they will returned to earth after one month for further analysis.

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‘New Space’ Research

One of the men behind the scheme told CBD Testers that the initiative could play a key role in the further rapid growth of the hemp and cannabis industry.

Peter McCullagh, CEO of SpaceCells USA, which is providing expertise, and funding for the project, said: “It’s the most disruptive force in the world today; Cannabis is moving more quickly than the tech industry…it will become a $2 trillion industry.”

Front Range, SpaceCells and BioServe Space Technologies at the University of Colorado, Boulder, are targeting a March 2020 blast-off on a SpaceX CRS-20 cargo flight.

In a press release the backers say the advent of private space travel has opened up a new area of research known as ‘new space’, which allows researchers to study the effects of microgravity on a variety of organisms.

With the earth’s climate subject to fluctuations the research will look at how crops can thrive in the scenario of shifting temperatures. BioServe says it will work with the NASA astronauts to execute the experiment, with the cultures will be monitored remotely from its payload operations center at the University of Colorado in Boulder. 

Dr. Jonathan Vaught, Co-Founder and CEO of Front Range Biosciences said science supports the theory that ‘plants in space experience mutations’. 

Hemp’s Rapid Growth

Vaught added further: “This is an opportunity to see whether those mutations hold up once brought back to earth and if there are new commercial applications.”  

SpaceCells is on the forefront of the commercialization of that research with Mr McCullagh adding: “These are big ideas we’re pursuing and there’s a massive opportunity to bring to market new Chemotypes, as well as Plants that can better adapt to drought and cold conditions.  We expect to prove through these and other missions that we can adapt the food supply to climate change.”

Since the introduction of the Farm Bill last year the U.S hemp industry has almost trebled in size and this exponential growth is set to continue over the coming years. The International Space Station is a $100 billion science and engineering laboratory that orbits 250 miles above Earth.

Permanently staffed it conducts research into space medicine, life sciences, physical sciences, astronomy and meteorology.

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About the author

Peter McCusker

Peter McCusker is an experienced news and business editor, who believes it’s time to fully embrace the multiple, proven, medical benefits of the cannabis plant.

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