Tuesday, 22 October 2013

'High-less' medical marijuana now being grown at Israeli plantation

An Israeli company that has been producing medical marijuana for patients since 2004 has developed a new strain of the healing plant that it says contains minimal levels of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), and thus does not elicit the "high" feeling typically associated with smoking recreational cannabis.

At an undisclosed location in northern Israel, Tikun Olam, which was founded by a retired biology teacher with an interest in helping patients treat their ailments naturally, manufactures the new strain that Reuters Health says contains 15.8 percent cannabidiol (CBD), and less than one percent THC. The resultant product, according to the company, provides the best of both worlds without a psychoactive effect.

"Sometimes the high is not always what they need," says Zack Klein, head of development at Tikun Olam, concerning patients who take medicinal marijuana but do not desire to feel intoxicated. "For some of the people, it's not even pleasant."

Marijuana naturally contains more than 60 varieties of a compound known as cannabinoids that activates cannabinoid receptors throughout the body. When ingested or smoked, these cannabinoids trigger an anti-inflammatory response that can provide incredible benefits in treating and curing disease, including rheumatoid arthritis, colitis, liver inflammation, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

THC is one of these cannabinoids, as is CBD. But depending on the variety of marijuana used, the ratio of CBD to THC can vary significantly, which is what makes Tikun Olam's new strain unique. By breeding a variety of marijuana with a lower ratio of THC to CBD, the company will fill a niche market for patients specifically trying to avoid the psychoactive effects of THC.

"It's a huge advantage," said one medical marijuana patient to Reuters Health about the the new strain. "I can smoke during the day, function with a lot less pain and still be focused, work and drive. It is a great gift."

Cannabis International (CI), a medicinal marijuana advocacy group, has also been conducting research on the powerful benefits of CBD. Juicing marijuana leaves as opposed to smoking the buds is a great way to both avoid the "high" associated with smoking marijuana, and obtain the maximum health benefits of marijuana's cornucopia of medicinal components.

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