Why Are Scientists Growing Weed in Space?

Why Are Scientists Growing Weed in Space?

While there are plenty of weird places to grow weed, outer space now tops our list.

Kentucky-based Space Tengo specializes in special boxes that can be used on the International Space Station (ISS). Cannabis and hemp cultivators Atalo Holdings and Anavii Market — also based in Kentucky — decided to partner with Space Tengo to send some ganja plants to a galaxy far, far away.

The microwave-sized boxes are actually clean room laboratories that will be used by ISS scientists to grow and observe the plants. According to Kris Kimel, co-founder and chairman of Space Tango, there are now two of those small laboratories on the ISS.

So, what can we learn from weed grown in outer space?

Growing weed in a low-gravity environment sounds like fun, but is it useful? According to pharmacy professor Joe Chappell of the University of Kentucky, it is. He explains that plants have a genetic reservoir they can use in “stressful” situations — a reservoir they can use to adapt to their environment and survive.


Chappell told MerryJane.com that “understanding how plants react in an environment where the traditional stress of gravity is removed can provide new insights into how adaptations come about and how researchers might take advantage of such changes for the discovery of new characteristics, traits, biomedical applications, and efficacy.”

In short, by growing weed in space, researchers may discover new ways to use cannabis to treat certain illnesses.

Despite the potential of interplanetary pot, don’t expect to find any “space weed” in your local dispensary just yet. The goal is to see how the plant reacts to this low-gravity environment, and how that could be useful for humankind.

Kimel says that “each time a new type of physics platform has been successfully harnessed, such as electromagnetism, it has led to the exponential growth of new knowledge, benefits to humankind, and capital formation.”

Whether this will also be the case for the cannabis grown in space is still uncertain.