Poly Cannabinoids: CBD-Based Bioplastics
The bioplastic called poly(lactic acid), or PLA, has become a popular option for sustainable plastics because it's made from corn and sugarcane instead of fossil fuels. CBD, the non-psychotropic component of cannabis and hemp, has a chemical structure that results in a “good building block” for PLA that could replace conventional plastics for medical use.
Researchers Gregory Sotzing, Lakshmi Nair and colleagues performed a condensation reaction with adipoyl chloride—also used to create nylon—and either CBD or the closely-related cannabigerol (CBG) to make a new bioplastic. In addition, they investigated the polymers' properties.
“Neither CBD nor CBG polyesters was cytotoxic. Unlike the conventional bioplastic PLA, the CBD polyester had an antioxidant activity,” according to the study. “Polymeric CBD had a broad melting temperature range and stretchability. To show its ability to function as a plastic, the researchers formed it into a hemp leaf shape with a mold.”
Sotzing said the future goal of his start-up company Polycannabinoid Therapeutics Rx is to engineer anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving bioplastics.
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