SpaceX Plans to Send Marijuana to the ISS

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SpaceX Rocket will Carry Marijuana to the ISS for “Scientific Purposes.”

A few weeks ago, A SpaceX Dragon capsule went to the ISS with the makings for beer. For that specific mission, the idea was to see how seeds germinate in space prior to malting. Malting is, of course, a very important of the beer brewing process. And even if the current ISS crew didn’t get to crack open a Bud this time, beer may be very important to future space colonists. After all, did you know that if it weren’t for beer, many of the Puritan settlers in New England would have died? Beer was a safer and more sanitary alternative to most of the water they had available. The same may hold true for colonists in space. Now, Elon Musk’s sold some space on his next launch so that a bioresearch firm can send marijuana to the ISS.

Eh hem… Excuse me. I have to be a twelve-year-old for a moment…

“Hopefully They Got Some Space Weed… Over.” (NSFW)

Okay, I had to get the joking out of my system first. Now I can concentrate on the real substance behind the science. 

The Reasoning Behind the Mission

Throughout the nearly twenty-year history of the ISS, astronauts have performed myriad agricultural experiments. Understanding how differences in gravity, solar cycles, and innumerable other factors affect germination and cultivation is crucial to discoveries about how to improve both future lives in space and current life on Earth. After all, we reported recently that changes in gravity might even be the key to curing cancer. The point is, we don’t know until we try.

Marijuana, or hemp, has a lot of uses beyond the ones that make Ricky talk funny in the video above. Hemp is a very useful plant for making fibers and fabrics, as well as other materials. Cannabidiol (CBD), one of the main cannabinoids found in marijuana is even approved by the FDA to treat certain seizure disorders. CBD is also reported to have pain relief properties without the psychoactive components of other cannabinoids like THC. Front Range Biosciences, along with partners Space Cells and BioServe plan to send both marijuana and coffee on SpaceX’s next flight. According to Dr. Jonathan Faught, CEO of Front Range Biosciences, “This is one of the first times anyone is researching the effects of microgravity and spaceflight on hemp and coffee cell cultures.”

The mission, CRS-20, is scheduled for March 2020.

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Brandon Humphreys

Brandon Humphreys

I'm a wizard. I write stuff and it goes from my head into yours - Magic! Apart from that, I am the Senior Editor for Space Porn, a veteran, a rock guitarist, and a teacher.

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