New CSU lab seeks cannabinoid secrets – Loveland Reporter-Herald

FORT COLLINS – Several years after the explosion in popularity of hemp products, many claims have been made about the potential health benefits of CBD and other non-psychoactive cannabinoids.

A new Colorado State University lab, funded by a donation from a graduate, is testing these claims and trying to uncover new applications for these often misunderstood chemical compounds.

The new Panacea Life Sciences Cannabinoid Research Center, capable of providing contract research services, operates out of the CSU College of Natural Sciences and was built and equipped with $ 1.5 million from Leslie Buttorff, CEO of the CBD company based at Golden Panacea Life Sciences Inc.

Melissa Reynolds, laboratory director at Panacea Life Sciences Cannabinoid Research Center, shows how hemp plants are turned into distillates that can be chemically studied during a visit to Colorado State University. (Lucas High / BizWest)

“There is so much we don’t know about cannabinoids,” said lab director Melissa Reynolds. “There could be over 120 cannabinoids that we are still discovering. “

Each of these compounds has the potential to treat different conditions in both humans and animals.

“There are a lot of claims about what CBD does, but do we have any scientific data to back it up? Said Reynolds. “One of the things the university is expert at is answering these types of questions.”

The lab, which lasted about two and a half years and whose opening was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will include studies not only in chemistry, but also in disciplines such as agricultural sciences and psychology, said Madeline Roach, a graduate student at CSU.

Cannabinoid research is “a booming field, so it’s a great experience to learn all of these types of (chemical separation) instruments and the industrial side of science,” she said.

The benefits of a strong connection to CSU for Panacea are numerous.

“We needed a way to do research and clinical studies to extract some of the minor cannabinoids and examine them to create a useful drug for the consumer market,” said Panacea senior vice president Nick Cavarra. , also a graduate of CSU. “CSU suited us perfectly. We have a big investment here now, and we are thrilled to be a part of the university.

Being part of CSU allows Panacea to access a talent pool during a time when skilled labor is particularly difficult to attract.

“We like to attract new talent,” Cavarra said. “I’ve always viewed Colorado as the hub of the cannabis space, so what a great place to attract talent.”

Buttorff said one of the lab’s goals is to do for cannabinoids what the University of Florida and Gatorade have done for the sports drink industry.

“Colorado is a world leader in cannabis, and we have the best minds studying this unique plant,” Buttorf said.

© 2021 BizWest Media LLC

A whiteboard from the Panacea Life Sciences Cannabinoid Research Center shows the chemical makeup of cannabinoids. (Lucas High / BizWest)

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