Posted on 1 Comment

Scientists Want To Create Human-Monkey Chimeras For “Research”

The monkeys in Douglas Munoz’s Kingston lab look like other monkeys. The only thing separating the macaques from their unaltered lab mates is the elevated level of a specific human protein implanted inside their brains, proteins that accumulate in the brains of humans with Alzheimer’s disease.

Munoz, Canada Research Chair in neuroscience at Queen’s University, has reported his work using brain molecules. Others are implanting monkeys with fragments of human brain tissue extracted from people who died with Alzheimer’s.

Now, however, some are going further, and proposing the creation of human-monkey chimeras — part-human beings with entire portions of the brain, like, say, the hippocampus, entirely human derived.

For Munoz, the idea of biologically humanizing large portions of a monkey’s brain is  seriously unnerving. “To be honest, it just really ethically scares me,” he said.

In April, Chinese researchers announced they had inserted  a human brain gene into monkey embryos, a gene critical for human brain development. “This is an important step,” says Feng Zhang, a synthetic biologist who was not involved in the study, but who has helped to develop CRISPR technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. “It shows that the system is working.”

The race is already on to create more CRISPR-modified monkeys, and with greater reliability. Zhang and his colleagues are working to optimize the technology for primate cells, in order to boost mutation efficiency.

The feat was applauded by some researchers who said it would help them to recreate devastating human diseases in monkeys, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. The ability to alter DNA with such precision is already being investigated as a way to make people resistant to HIV.

But the breakthrough is controversial, with groups opposed to animal testing warning that it could drive a rise in the use of monkeys in research. One critic said that genetic engineering gave researchers “almost limitless power to create sick animals”.

Chimeras were once only monsters out of Greek mythology. Today, stem-cell technologies and gene-editing tools like CRISPR may make the generation of these once fantastical creatures possible.

In fact, scientists are already using “xenotransplantation” techniques to create human-pig chimeras, in the hope of one day generating human organs for transplant.

Darwinists Wants Us to Create ‘Humanzee’

A new movement headed by Professor David Barash to prove evolution by breeding humans with our claimed closest relative, the chimpanzee has gained credence. A core teaching of Neo-Darwinism is that humans are simply another animal produced by evolution.

Barash believes that breeding chimps and humans “would be a terrific idea” for many reasons including to quell what he calls the most harmful “theologically-driven myth of all times: that human beings are discontinuous from the rest of the natural world, … specially created and endowed with souls, whereas ‘they’—all other creatures—were not.” 

Barish isn’t the only Darwinist who seeks to tear us down in this manner. Richard Dawkins has pushed the same noxious idea, as has the transhumanist bioethicist, James Hughes — and for the same ridiculous reason: Destroying religious faith.

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

Genesis 1:26

David P. Barash is not a fringe scientist, but a leading researcher and science popularizer. As a Professor of Psychology emeritus at the University of Washington, he has written, edited or co-authored 40 books, and over 230 scholarly articles, mostly on Darwin and Darwinism. He is also a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Efforts to Breed Humans and Chimps in the Past

It’s not the first time human-ape breeding experiments have been attempted. The first scientific attempt was in the mid-1920s at a laboratory, then part of French Guinea in Africa. The work was done by a leading Soviet Scientist, Professor Ilya Ivanovich Ivanov, and his son.

Ivanov attempted at least three times, without success, to inseminate female chimpanzees with human sperm. He also attempted a set of experiments involving ape sperm and humans, but was unsuccessful for several reasons. Ivanov used Negro women because they were in his day believed to be biologically closer to apes, thus, he reasoned, the experiment would more likely be successful. His belief was based on the writings of Darwin and others.

Posted on Leave a comment

Obesity Is Now A Bigger Cause Of Cancer Than Smoking

Obesity is now a bigger cause of many types of cancer than smoking, scientists has revealed. Excess weight causes thousands of more cases of bowel, kidney, liver and ovarian cancer than cigarettes every year.

Britain has the highest rates of obesity in Western Europe, with rates rising even faster than those in the United States. 

About 15 million adults in Britain (29 per cent) are obese, more than double the 6 million adult smokers (14 per cent). This is a reversal from the early 1990s, when 27 per cent of adults smoked and 15 per cent were obese.

NHS boss Simon Stevens said it was “further proof that obesity is the new smoking” and called on all areas of society to do their bit to “avoid copying America’s damaging and costly example”.

The charity urged ministers to take action, and ban junk food adverts on TV and online before 9pm. 

The figures were released by Cancer Research UK in the midst of a ‘fat shaming’ row centered around their latest campaign raising awareness of the dangers of obesity. Other measures should include restricting promotional offers on unhealthy food and drinks, it said. 

Simone Harding, a counsellor and nutritionist based in Devon, said: ‘Weight stigma is rife across society – the research detailing weight stigma in healthcare, media etc shows us that blaming individuals for a situation that is complex leads to worse outcomes, not better. It creates a bigger problem.’ 

It’s not the first time the charity has drawn a parallel between smoking and obesity, leading to accusations of shaming people who are overweight.

Danish comedian and body positive campaigner Sofie Hagen criticized calling the advert ‘incredibly damaging’. 

She wrote at the time: ‘Society viewing fatness as a negative thing is a thing that kills more than the cancer that you MIGHT get due to MAYBE something to do with you POSSIBLY weighing MORE than a CERTAIN weight POSSIBLY MAYBE.’ 

Posted on 4 Comments

US Navy Just Got A Patent For A Anti-Gravity “Flying Saucer” Aircraft

A technology patented by an aerospace engineer working at the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) describes a ‘hybrid’ craft that is capable of flying at breakneck speeds in the air, water, and even space using an unprecedented electromagnetic propulsion system.

A primary patent examiner at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) thought so too. But then the Chief Technical Officer (CTO) of the Naval Aviation Enterprise personally wrote a letter addressed to the examiner claiming that the U.S. needs the patent as the Chinese are already “investing significantly” in these aerospace technologies that sound eerily similar to the UFOs reported by Navy pilots in now well-known encounters.

The patent is highly complex and describes methods of reducing the mass of an aircraft using various techniques including the generation of gravity waves, which were first detected in 2016 after being produced when two black holes collided.

What that means is that the aircraft uses complex technology to reduce its mass and thereby lessen inertia (an object’s resistance to motion) so it can zoom along at high velocities.

Salvatore Cezar Pais /Google https://patents.google.com/patent/US10144532B2/en
These drawings were filed as part of the patent and show a craft which looks a lot like a UFO
(Photo: Salvatore Cezar Pais/ Google)

“It is possible to envision a hybrid aerospace/undersea craft (HAUC), which due to the physical mechanisms enabled with the inertial mass reduction device, can function as a submersible craft capable of extreme underwater speeds… and enhanced stealth capabilities,” the patent continues.

The patent was first applied for on April 28, 2016, over a decade after the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group encountered strange Tic Tac-shaped aircraft and nearly a year after Navy pilots across multiple squadrons flying out of Naval Air Station Oceana and NAS Norfolk experienced a string of bizarre encounters with unidentified aircraft, some of which, like the Tic Tac, seemed to possess exotic performance capabilities. 

Earlier this year, it was revealed that US government researchers investigated wormholes, antigravity, invisibility cloaking, warp drives and high energy laser weapons during a probe into ‘unexplained aerial phenomena’ called the Advanced Aerospace Threat and Identification Program (AATIP).

Perhaps the few pieces of footage that have trickled out over the last several years that some claim to show advanced craft could be the Navy’s way of subtly hinting that this concept actually works and is being tested in the field by either the U.S. or the Chinese.   

According to The Drive, letters from the Navy to the U.S. Patent Office seem to suggest that tests of technology have already been conducted by Pais, who holds other mind-bending patents like a ‘force-field‘ to fend off an incoming asteroid.

Little information can be found about the inventor, Salvatore Cezar Pais; he has virtually no web presence. What is known is that he received a PhD in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Case Western Reserve University in 1999 and that he currently works as an aerospace engineer for NAWCAD at Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland – the Navy’s top aircraft test base. Pais has published several articles and presented papers at American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics conferences over the years describing his work in electromagnetic propulsion, revolutionary room temperature superconductors, and many other similar topics.

The secret TR-3B plane

The TR-3B is the name conspiracists have given to the alleged surveillance aircraft of the United States Air Force, speculated to be developed under a so-called black project, which are said to use money unaccounted for in official government budgets.

The TR-3B (TR-3 Black Manta or ASTRA) is alleged by conspiracy theorists to be a secret “black project” spy craft of the US government that can be flown into space.

It has never been officially acknowledged but there have been numerous so-called sightings in the past.

Just last week, a bizarre video surfaced claiming to show the supposed black project stealth craft on a US aircraft carrier.

Billedresultat for tr3b

And earlier this month, an Australian family were left stunned to find a “triangular UFO travelling at 300mph”.

Posted on Leave a comment

Electromagnetic Radiation From Cellphones And WI-FI Is Harmful To Insects

Technology is quite literally destroying nature, with a yet another report further confirming that electromagnetic radiation from power lines and cell towers can disorientate birds and insects and destroy plant health. The paper warns that as nations switch to 5G, this threat could increase.

In the analysis, EKLIPSE, an EU-funded review body dedicated to policy that may impact biodiversity and the ecosystem, looked over 97 studies on how electromagnetic radiation may affect the environment. It concluded this radiation could indeed pose a potential risk to bird and insect orientation and plant health, The Telegraph reported.

This is not a new finding, as studies dating back for years have come to the same conclusion. In fact, one study from 2010 even suggested that this electromagnetic radiation may be playing a role in the decline of certain animal and insect populations.

However the charity Buglife warned that despite good evidence of the harms there was little research ongoing to assess the impact, or apply pollution limits.

The charity said ‘serious impacts on the environment could not be ruled out’ and called for 5G transmitters to be placed away from street lights, which attract insects, or areas where they could harm wildlife.

Studies also show electromagnetic radiation could be seriously affecting human health.

The total number of insects has decreased by 76% in the last 37 years

Insects, which comprise two thirds of all species on Earth, have been dying off at alarming rates — with disastrous impacts on food chains and habitats.

This warning comes from German entomology enthusiasts, or bug catchers, who have collected 80 million insects in the Rhine countryside over the last 37 years.

‘It is our greatest fear that a point of no return will be reached, which will lead to a permanent loss of diversity.’

To demonstrate the rapid decline, a lab technician held up two bottles: one from 1994 contains 1,400 grammes of trapped insects, the newest one just 300 grammes.

We only became aware of the seriousness of this decline in 2011, and every year since then we have seen it get worse,’ says Dr Sorg.

Although the exact roots of the die-off is not yet clear, ‘the cause is anthropogenic, there’s no doubt about it,’ he said.

In February, they published the first synthesis of 73 studies on entomological fauna around the world over the past 40 years, covering places from Costa Rica to southern France.

They calculated that over 40 per cent of insect species are threatened with extinction and each year another one per cent is added to this list.

Although pesticides and modern farming play a huge role, electromagnetic radiation could also be a factor.

Posted on 2 Comments

The Cannabis Industry Is Changing

In examining the current state of the cannabis market, it is clear the use of artificial intelligence technology is not a passing trend but a real opportunity to provide solutions to a pressing market need.

Imagine that you have a day-by-day record of how your plants are reacting to all the different inputs (environmental conditions, nutrient feed, pH, CO2, light spectrum, etc.) and your software is now making millions of calculations to draw insights on what is making a difference to your output. The output may be yield, energy consumption, labor cost, etc., but it may also be modeling what will happen if you change your way of growing.

The access to a vast amount of data, allows growers to optimize for environmental changes and variables and can even change the strain of the product. Growers can even adapt to what CBD or THC levels that they want and change the genetic makeup to consistently produce the types of strains that sell best.

The Medical Cannabis market alone offers more than 30,000 different Marijuana strains, each used to treat a different set of symptoms and concerns. This creates a big confusion both at the buyer side and the dispatcher end. With so many strains available, the purchaser is often at a loss as to which one is best for their specific needs or condition. Artificial Intelligence is useful in using existing data from studies and peer-reviewed journals to match symptoms and ailments to one of the strains available.

Cannabis in everyday items

Innovators are taking up the gauntlet to cultivate this versatile plant for a medley of biodegradable materials including plastic polymersbuilding productsfabricswoodbiofuelpaper and even car components.

It’s not new. The fiber from industrial hemp (Cannabis sativa) has been used for thousands of years to make paper, rope, cloth and fuel.

Hemp is a weed, so it grows prolifically with little water and no pesticides. It takes up relatively little space, produces more pulp per acre than trees, and is biodegradable. Hemp crops even give back by returning nutrients to the soil and sequestering carbon dioxide.

Morris Beegle, co-founder and president of WAFBA (We Are For Better Alternatives) is a staunch advocate of industrial hemp.

Beegle set up his hemp company in 2012 and then launched the NoCo Hemp Expo, which has grown to be the largest in the world.

With a merchandising company called TreeFreeHemp, Beegle produces a vast array of custom products including paper, business cards, flyers, posters, CD and DVD sleeves and more. Drawing from his background in the music industry, he even produces boutique, custom-made guitars, using hemp for the body, straps, picks and volume knobs.

Currently, there are less than a million acres of hemp growing across the planet. Beegle sees this starting to grow exponentially over the next five to 20 years. “I don’t think there’s any way to stop it now.”

The silly CBD products

Sellers around the world are careful not to claim any specific medical benefits for the CBD products because of a lack of clinical evidence, so they are instead marketed as food supplements.

The new CBD products include; CBD water, to cooking or massage oils, pills, chewing gum, transdermal patches, pessaries, gin, beer and lube. The crown for silliest CBD product of the year, however, belongs indisputably to the CBD-infused pillowcases sold by one hopeful firm of US fabric-makers. 

There is now no denying the medicinal value of CBD and THC – not even by several European governments, which for years maintained that lie even as it rubberstamped the cultivation and export of the world’s largest medicinal cannabis crop.

In many cases, the CBD industry is taking consumers for a ride. Lab tests have analysed high-street offerings and found that more than half of the most popular CBD oils sold do not contain the level of CBD promised on the label. And a look at the label of those products shows that many are sold at such low concentrations that even the guesstimated doses, measured in drops, cannot deliver more than a scant few milligrammes of the active ingredient – whereas medical trials use many times more.

Scientists and politicians are, thankfully, catching up with hundreds of years of folk wisdom: it’s not news to anyone who regularly smokes a spliff that cannabis is relaxing, or that it can help you sleep far more soundly than a glass of red wine, or improve your mood. The interplay between THC, CBD, and the hundreds of other active compounds in the cannabis plant could one day be isolated, identified, tested and proven to offer symptomatic help or even a cure for dozens of life-threatening conditions. But decades of pointless prohibition based on specious moral arguments have prevented proper medical research that could have benefited millions.

Posted on Leave a comment

Italian Police Arrest Elite Network That “Brainwashes And Sells Children”

Italian police have arrested 18 people, including a mayor, doctors and social workers, for allegedly brainwashing vulnerable children into thinking their parents had abused them so they could then be sold to foster parents.

The network then allegedly gave the children to foster families in exchange for cash, while keeping gifts and letters sent to the children by their real parents hidden in a warehouse that was discovered by police.

Codenamed “Angels and Demons”, the investigation began in 2018 and revealed that the network operated under the pretenses of helping children in difficult situations by placing them in foster families. However, the scheme was essentially a front for child trafficking. An article in the Corriere della Sera newspaper explains how any excuse was used to remove children from their families in order to justify their abduction and brainwashing.

“These accusations, if confirmed, are frightening and shocking,” Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said at the Group of 20 meeting in Japan.

To brainwash the children and deceive authorities, the network is also accused of using small electroshocks that they called the “little memory machine” while with children.

Their other methods allegedly included forging childlike drawings to add fake sexual details, falsely describing their parents’ homes as derelict, and enacting plays in which social workers playing the children’s parents disguised as monsters trying to harm them.

The people to whom the boys and girls were handed over reportedly included sex shop owners, persons with psychological disorders and parents whose children had committed suicide. It was under this ‘foster care’ that at least two of the victims suffered actual sexual abuse, according to reports.

Police declined to say how many children were involved, or of what age.

Those arrested, as well as 27 others under investigation, have been charged with mistreatment of minors, violence, abuse of office, fraud, grave injuries, abuse of power, embezzlement and falsifying public records.

Hundreds of thousands of euros were involved, Italian media reported.

Italians on the internet said they were praying for the estimated 30 kids who were affected, and demanded an appropriate punishment for the wrongdoers, whom they branded as “animals.”

Posted on Leave a comment

Facebook’s Libra Will Introduce A Global Digital ID

Buried in Facebook’s Libra white paper are two short sentences hinting that the project’s ambitions go even further than bringing billions of people into the global financial system.

More than launching a price-stable cryptocurrency for the masses, Libra could be aiming to change the way people trust each other on the internet.

At the top of page nine, in a section describing the consortium that will govern the Libra coin, the white paper states:

“An additional goal of the association is to develop and promote an open identity standard. We believe that decentralized and portable digital identity is a prerequisite to financial inclusion and competition.”

It’s a problem almost as old as the internet itself. As the classic “New Yorker” cartoon put it, “on the internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.”

In such an environment, businesses need to guard against fraud, but the copious amounts of personal data consumers must share to prove they are who they say they are leaves them vulnerable to identity theft and spying.

Libra, when launched, will be just one of the over 1,600 cryptocurrencies globally (with new ones emerging every week)—the largest being Bitcoin, followed by Ripple, Ethereum and Tether that cumulatively account for about 90% of the market capitalization. In India, too, Paytm and PhonePe cumulatively account for a little over 80% share of all digital wallet accounts in the country. Libra, thus, will not have a first mover’s advantage.

Posted on Leave a comment

Many Drinking Glasses And Alcohol Bottles Contain Dangerous Levels Of Toxins

Bottles of beer, wine and spirits contain potentially harmful levels of toxic elements, such as lead and cadmium, in their enameled decorations, a new study shows.

Researchers at the University of Plymouth analysed both the glass and enamelled decorations on a variety of clear and coloured bottles readily available in shops and supermarkets.

They discovered that glass bottles of beer, wine and spirits and bottles decorated with enamel contained cadmium, lead and chromium. While the levels found in glass bottles were “deemed to be of low significance,” levels discovered in the enamel posed more of a risk.

There were cadmium concentrations of up to 20,000 parts per million in the enamel decorations on a variety of beer, wine and spirits bottles. Concentrations of lead in the enamel decorations were up to 80,000 parts per million. The limit for lead in consumer paints is 90 parts per million.

The study also showed the elements had the potential to leach from enameled glass fragments, and when subjected to a standard test that simulates rainfall in a landfill site, several fragments exceeded the US Model Toxins in Packaging Legislation and could be defined as “hazardous.”

“It has always been a surprise to see such high levels of toxic elements in the products we use on a daily basis,” Turner said in the release. “This is just another example of that, and further evidence of harmful elements being unnecessarily used where there are alternatives available. The added potential for these substances to leach into other items during the waste and recycling process is an obvious and additional cause for concern.”

Andrew Turner, associate professor of aquatic geochemistry and pollution science at the University of Plymouth

Andrew Turner, author of the study and associate professor of aquatic geochemistry and pollution science at the University of Plymouth, said in a press release that the results are more “evidence of harmful elements being unnecessarily used where there are alternatives available.”

Drinking glass also toxic

In a paper published to the journal Science of the Total Environment, a team from the University of Plymouth revealed its research into enamelled drinking glasses and popular merchandise.

Having carried out 197 tests on 72 new and secondhand drinking glass products, including tumblers, jars, and beer and wine glasses, it was found that many contained dangerous levels of lead and cadmium.

They found lead present in 139 cases and cadmium in 134, both on the surface of the glasses and, in some cases, on the rims, with concentrations of lead sometimes even more than 1,000 times higher than the limit level.

The danger was pinpointed to flakes that come away from the glass when testing replicated sustained use, suggesting that the toxin level grows over time.

The study further revealed that more than 70 per cent of the products (52 out of 72) tested positive for lead, and the metal was found in all recorded colours, including the decorated gold leaf of some items, A similar number (51 out of 72) tested positive for cadmium, with the highest concentrations usually encountered in red enamel. The lead concentrations ranged from about 40 to 400,000 parts per million (ppm), while quantities of cadmium ranged from about 300 to 70,000 parts per million (ppm), the researchers noted. As per the United States Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, the limit levels for the externally decorated lip area of drinking glass are 200 ppm and 800 ppm respectively.

“There are genuine health risks posed through ingesting such levels of the substances over a prolonged period, so this is clearly an issue that the international glassware industry needs to take action on as a matter of urgency.”

ANDREW TURNER, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF AQUATIC GEOCHEMISTRY AND POLLUTION SCIENCE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF PLYMOUTH

Turner questioned the use of such chemicals in manufacturing, asking: “Why are harmful or restricted elements still being employed so commonly to decorate contemporary glassware manufactured in China, the European Union and elsewhere?

“I believe consumers should be made aware of this, while retailers and the glass industry have the responsibility to eliminate toxic metals from decorated products.”

Researchers point out that these hazardous materials have the potential to come in contact with the food or beverage and impact human health. The study was published in the journal Science of the Total Environment and the researchers feel that these results were quite surprising as safer alternatives are available but no one seems to be using them.

Posted on Leave a comment

App Undresses A Photo Of Any Woman With A Single Click

Any woman can be a victim of “x-rays” of DeepNude. Just have a picture of a person – with the least amount of clothing if possible – and download it. From there, the software creates a new image, generated by algorithms, of the woman deprived of any clothing and in which the breasts and the vagina of the protagonist in question can be clearly seen. And all in less than a minute.

Women are the only target of DeepNude …. so far! If you try with a photo of a man, the experience does not work. However on the web, we can already read that they work on male nudes. 

Motherboard first drew attention to DeepNude, reporting on Wednesday that the app used machine learning technology to “undress” the images by algorithmically superimposing body parts on them.

Katelyn Bowden, founder and executive director of Badass, an anti-porn vengeance activist, told Motherboard, “It’s absolutely terrifying, anyone can be a victim of pornographic revenge, without having nude photo. This technology should not be accessible to the public.

Following the controversy that erupted, the anonymous creator of this app, going by the name Alberto, claimed he shut down the app.

Despite the safety measures adopted (watermarks) if 500,000 use it the probability that people will misuse it will be too high. […] The world is not yet ready for DeepNude.

Until a few days ago, anyone who wanted to see anyone naked had to pay $ 50, but probably because of the high demand now you have to pay $ 99.99. By paying this amount, you can access the premium option with which you can better modify the image. However, you can also see nudes for free in the non-paying version, whose images are partly covered with a watermark.

“We don’t want to make money this way,” the statement said. “Surely some copies of DeepNude will be shared on the web, but we don’t want to be the ones to sell it.” Alberto claimed that he’s just a “technology enthusiast,” motivated by curiosity and a desire to learn.

Alberto said he was inspired to create DeepNude by ads for gadgets like X-Ray glasses that he saw while browsing magazines from the 1960s and 70s, which he had access to during his childhood. The logo for DeepNude, a man wearing spiral glasses, is an homage to those ads.

“Like everyone, I was fascinated by the idea that they could really exist and this memory remained,” he said. “About two years ago I discovered the potential of AI and started studying the basics. When I found out that GAN networks were able to transform a daytime photo into a nighttime one, I realized that it would be possible to transform a dressed photo into a nude one. Eureka. I realized that x-ray glasses are possible! Driven by fun and enthusiasm for that discovery, I did my first tests, obtaining interesting results.”

Despite the shuttering of DeepNude – for now at least – similar services will likely be hot on its heels. Motherboard talked to Katelyn Bowden, founder and CEO of revenge porn activism organization Badass, who found DeepNude “absolutely terrifying.”

Now anyone could find themselves a victim of revenge porn, without ever having taken a nude photo. This tech should not be available to the public.

Posted on Leave a comment

Patenting Cannabis – Who owns The Plant?

First of all, how can anyone or any entity obtain a patent on a living substance that grows in the wild and has been known for about 5,000 years?

In a landmark 1980 opinion, then-U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger wrote that eligibility for patent protection does not depend on whether the substance is living or nonliving. Rather, the key question is whether the inventor has altered nature’s handiwork to the extent the resulting invention can be deemed a non-naturally occurring substance.

U.S. patent number US6630507B1US, held by the U.S Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), has long been a point of contention for cannabis activists. The patent covers “Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants,” and since it’s filing in 1998, the patent has been the surrounded in controversy and conspiracy theories. Why would the U.S. government hold a patent for cannabis, yet continue to keep it as Schedule I under the Controlled Substances Act?

Beyond the conspiracy theory of cannabis patents, the U.S. government isn’t the only company protecting intellectual property rights in cannabis. There are nearly 60,000 patents issued covering types of cannabis innovation and another 90,000 applications in process. The burgeoning marijuana industry is a gold rush for patent law firms around the country. Marijuana businesses are scrambling to protect their intellectual property rights, in a sector that until recently was relatively unprotected.

U.S. courts have ruled that the Patent and Trademark Office should treat the mundane – bicycles or can openers – and the controversial – such as birth-control devices, genetically altered mice and ammunition – the same way.

That is why all strains of flowering plants, be they tomatoes or cannabis, bud on the same even playing field.

Therefore, a patent on a particular strain of pot may be used to stop someone from growing or selling it, even in a state that has legalized weed. In theory, patent owners may sue to stop anyone from growing specific kinds of patented pot plants in any state or territory – whether or not pot is legal there.

Smaller breeders, scientists who alter naturally occurring marijuana plants for medicinal purposes, fear that bioagricultural companies like Monsanto and Syngenta will arm themselves with cannabis-based patents and deploy their considerable economic power to position themselves as dominant forces in a promising market.

The possibilities for patents in the marijuana industry are much broader than one might first assume, considering patents don’t strictly apply to strictly physical inventions. According to Knobbe Martens, an intellectual property, and technology law firm, some current areas to take into consideration for cannabis-related intellectual property rights are:

  • New and genetically modified Strains of Cannabis
  • New methods of identification and characterization of the many chemical compounds of cannabis; the detection and analysis.
  • New methods of extraction and processing.
  • New cannabinoid derived compositions
  • New consumption devices
  • New advances in marijuana as medicine
  • New innovations in cannabis cultivation

Coming soon to a lab near you? Genetically modified cannabis

When the mere mention of genetically altered foods causes your dinner guests to shift in their chairs, you’d expect a bumpy road ahead when it comes to researchers tinkering with their cannabis.

“We could make the cannabis resistant to things like mould, powdery mildew and pests without any of the regular horticultural interventions,” says Ryan Lee, founder of Chimera Genetic Resource Management, a longstanding cannabis seed company, and Chemovar Consulting, a genetic research firm that specializes in breeding and cultivar development.

“Through biotechnology, you could even change the chemical pathways in the plant,” Lee says, explaining that growers could potentially adjust CBD and THC levels much quicker than with traditional breeding methods.

When growers (generally anyone with the capacity to grown cannabis) were asked if they would genetically modify their cannabis to resist grey mold and powdery mildew, 73 percent of responding users thought it was worth it.

Gene-editing techniques, such as CRISPR-Cas9, in which geneticists can knock out certain genes in a genome to express a desired trait, has been applied to everything from apples that don’t brown to soybeans that produce more heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

It’s a promising future for cannabis, but not yet within reach, said Daniela Vergara, a postdoctoral research associate researching cannabis genomics at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

At the Hyasynth Biologicals laboratory in Montreal, scientists are working on the latest frontier in the cannabis business: genetically engineering the active ingredients in marijuana and then patenting them.

“Cannabis is going to be like any other commodity controlled by large technology players and agribusiness. It’s where this is headed.”

Jim Thomas, a spokesperson for technology watchdog the ETC Group

Hyasynth is part of a new wave of genetic engineering firms across Canada and the U.S., splicing and dicing molecules found in cannabis plants, hoping to create new recreational products and medicines to treat pain, cancers, insomnia, epilepsy and a host of other health problems.

“Companies are using genetic sequences taken from natural cannabis strains, altering them and building a product that will eventually disrupt natural markets in cannabis,” said Jim Thomas, a spokesperson for Val-David, Que.-based technology watchdog the ETC Group.

Companies have already obtained patents for a transgenic cannabis plant that enhances seed yields and growth and a transgenic hemp plan that’s more salt tolerant, according to government data provided to CBC News.

Other patents are pending for new genetic alterations to cannabis, including:

  • A transgenic hemp product that increases pest resistance in plants.
  • A heat-resistant, transgenic cannabis plant.
  • Drought-tolerant cannabis plants.
  • A transgenic cannabis cell that alters how the cannabis plant produces polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Blockchain technology will be used to patent cannabis

When you walk into a dispensary in any one of the 25 states where medicinal and/or recreational marijuana is legal, you’ll likely see display cases lined with a dozen or more strains of weed. Many of these strains, like Pineapple Express or Blue Dream, will sound familiar, but is the Granddaddy Purp you buy in Colorado the same stuff your guy in California is selling you?

To answer this question, a company called Medicinal Genomics is creating a repository of cannabis genomes which are stored on the Bitcoin blockchain. The company hopes that its efforts will standardize strain nomenclature so that customers always know what they’re getting while also defending the intellectual property rights of those who breed new strains of weed.

There are more than 1,400 individual strains of cannabis grown worldwide, and up to 500 known chemical compounds in a single cannabis plant, leaving a number of varieties still open to ‘discovery’.

Large growers are beginning to think about securing intellectual property rights for their strains, which became a possibility in August 2015 when the first patent for a strain of weed was filed at the US Patent Office.

As might be expected, Medicinal Genomics has sparked a race among growers to sequence their strains and register them on the blockchain. While this is not the same thing as getting a patent from the US Patent Office for that strain and thus having IP rights for that strain, it does protect that grower in the event that someone else files a patent for that particular strain.

For $600, growers can now buy a DNA purification kit for one of their plants and ship the genetic material to one of Medicinal Genomics partner labs for sequencing. Once the sequencing is done, scientists at Medical Genomics will compare the strain’s genome to a reference strain—in their case, this is Purple Kush—and record its genetic deviations from this reference to differentiate it as a unique strain.

Another company ( TheraCann ) has been working to ensure that the weed or oil you take in is legal and traceable and they have a number of products that shows how weed travels via live maps. To that end they have added these DNA tags to TruTrace Technologies blockchain-based StrainSecure database. The company began as BLOCKStrain and is based in Vancouver, British Columbia. It is currently traded over the counter and it does not have a token.

This partnership is, as one would assume, a no-brainer. Connecting DNA tags to the blockchain is one of the interesting ways to track almost any type of consumable – from food to candy to ganja – from farm to bowl. Interestingly, the system also protects a farmer’s intellectual property by ensuring genomes are traced.

Since the cannabis industry is new and a standard has yet to be determined for the protection of rights and validating the supply chain, growers and consumers are left to hope that blockchain will be the technology that can help to establish fair standards moving forward.