Cannabis consumption has yet to cause a single death. A licensed cannabis producer in Canada, Organigram (OGI), did indirectly lead to the unfortunate death of Jumpin’ Jack Proud, though. Back in August of 2019, CBC reported internal emails from the cannabis producer regarding cooling towers clogged with bacteria. In December of 2020, Organigram admitted that 16 cases of Legionnaires’ Disease did stem from their cooling fans. Jumping ahead another year, OGI settled 11 lawsuits but another four dozen individuals continue to suffer from unrelated brain disorders in New Brunswick. (1-4)
Organigram has been producing cannabis in Moncton, New Brunswick since 2013. An earlier lawsuit proved troublesome for the company after spraying banned pesticides on medical cannabis.
A new neurological disease
One mysterious neurological disorder occurred in Moncton, New Brunswick in 2013. 11 more cases occurred in 2019, 24 more in 2020, and 6 again in 2021 — several people have died after being diagnosed with the disease. The time frame of the earlier cases, if not anything else, rules out 5G, Covid-19, and new vaccines. Yet, no doctor has figured out the cause years down the road. Dr. Alier Marrero, the neurologist who identified the condition, has even been sidelined from the case.
Symptoms include dizziness, forgetfulness, muscle spasms, and behavioural changes in individuals as young as 18 years of age. An earlier memo from the chief medical officer of health even labelled it a new disease. Every test they have conducted since has ruled out any possible root cause. Tests covered many angles including but not limited to heavy metals, unusual fungi, bacteria, and known human prion proteins. (5)
Legionnaire’s Disease and Organigram’s guilt
It is unknown how Organigram clogged its cooling fans with legionella bacteria in 2019. The source was a new phase of its Moncton facility. At that time, the company was experimenting with fermentation, that is, producing minor cannabinoids from genetically engineered yeast. In any case, genetically altered novel fungi are certainly ripe with mystery.
Cannabinoids function as efficient antibiotics, ultimately creating a challenge during fermentation. Processors, therefore, must innovate new-age solutions to successfully grow cannabinoids from engineered yeasts — a process proven safe by other companies — so far.
Engineered yeast, the first place for prions since eukaryotic organisms
The mysterious disease noticed in Moncton resembles Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, a human form of Mad Cow caused by prions. A brain begins to fold abnormally when it becomes infected with a prion, a protein previously only found in eukaryotic cells. In 2017, however, prion-like substances were discovered after certain proteins were inserted into the same yeast and bacteria used to grow cannabinoids.
Two events transpire after a specific protein fragment is inserted into bacteria. Firstly, the medium becomes more resistant to alcohol which could be seen as a benefit when producing cannabinoids. The second outcome, however, is the production of prion-like proteins. Another study instead noted enzymes in genetically engineered yeast are capable of folding into a prion-like genetic element.
Folded yeast proteins found to cause Alzheimer’s Disease
Fortunately, infectious prions do not easily cross from one species to another. Modified non-human yeast prions can, however, induce Alzheimer’s Disease in humans. This novel effect was discovered in 2022 by researchers in Switzerland and published in the Alzheimer’s Association Journal. (6)
By 2021, autopsies were performed on patients who died after contracting the mysterious disease in Moncton. Alzheimer’s and other unrelated causes of death were noted. However, no prion infections were found in the deceased. The research was not revealed to the press or the public. Although, it was concluded the unknown disease was nothing more than a cluster of misdiagnoses. (7)
Now, however, there exists a scientific possibility that yeast proteins capable of inducing Alzheimer’s Disease were released from one facility in Moncton, New Brunswick. (6)
A search for answers justifies all theories
Two years after bacteria was spread across Moncton by Organigram, 11 individuals and their families finally had closure. Yet, no causative links between any of the 16 patients affected by Legionnaires’ in 2019 initially existed beyond their presence in Moncton. And Organigram vehemently denied their role with a defensive legal strategy before finally admitting the truth. (1-4)
Sadly, four dozen other members of Moncton have yet to see closure. The unrelated condition they suffer has no cause, leaving doctors at a loss for answers. Public Health officers now question the authenticity of the neurological disease since no link can be found between reported cases. Looking back, would the 16 cases of Legionnaires’ Disease have been deemed invalid had blame not been pointed towards Organigram through leaked emails?
The government cover-up
Public Health defended Organigram in the past, putting their conjectures on the current case into question. Like everything else, to assume Organigram caused the brain disorder in New Brunswick remains a hypothesis, untested and built purely on mechanistic reasoning. To opine that Organigram (with Hysasynth) tested a strain of modified yeast that, unannounced to them, produced novel proteins capable of inducing Alzheimer’s Disease in humans as young as 18 years of age. With that said, will tests ever disprove the company’s role if Health Authorities keep all possible causes in the dark?
Can pieces of a novel protein, comprised of a complex molecular matrix, have been missed during all those tests?
The environment was placed as a suspect for the mysterious brain disorder in New Brunswick, rather than Organigram. (8) To ensure environmental tampering did not occur, CLN sent a request for all records under the Weather Modification Information Act during that time. We received 800 pages from Alberta‘s Hail Suppression Project, although we are still waiting for more records of data from the Ministry of Environment.
In the meantime, let us know in the comments if you think Organigram is responsible for the mysterious brain disorder in New Brunswick. Or do you think the disease is nothing more than a cluster of misdiagnoses?
- 2013 – The first patent for cannabinoid biosynthesis is given priority
- 2013 – Organigram is founded.
- 2013 – One case of CJD was reported in Moncton, New Brunswick.
- April, 2016 – Hyasynth Biologicals, based in Montreal, reports their successful attempt at fermenting CBG and CBGv.
- 2018 – Organigram and Hyasynth begin testing experimental strains of engineered yeast for cannabinoid production.
- 2019 – Bacteria was released from cannabis producer, Organigram’s cooling towers, infecting 16 people with Legionnaires’ Disease.
- 2019- 11 cases of a mysterious brain disorder with symptoms similar to prion disease occurred.
- 2020 – New discovery finds yeast prions can induce Alzheimer’s Disease in humans.
- Magee, S. Dec 2020. Organigram admits role in Moncton legionnaires’ disease outbreak. NB. CBC
- Magee, S. Oct 2019. Jumpin’ Jack Proud wants to dance again after battle with legionnaires’ disease. NB. CBC
- Magee, S. July 2021. 12 sue Organigram over 2019 legionnaires’ disease outbreak. NB. CBC
- Magee, S. Dec 2021. 11 lawsuits against Organigram over legionnaires’ disease outbreak end. NB. CBC
- Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health. 2021. New Brunswick Cluster of Neurological Syndrome of Unknown Cause. NB.
- Flach, M., Leu, C., Martinisi, A., Skachokova, Z., Frank, S., Tolnay, M., Stahlberg, H., & Winkler, D. T. (2022). Trans-seeding of Alzheimer-related tau protein by a yeast prion. Alzheimer’s & dementia : the journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, 10.1002/alz.12581. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1002/alz.12581
- Donkin, S. 2021. Public Health now questioning ‘validity’ of New Brunswick’s mystery brain disease. NB. CBC.
- Sutherland, M. 2021. Environment a chief suspect in mystery neurological disease found only in N.B. CBC.