Medical Marijuana without the high? What a drag
An Israeli firm, Tikun Olam, spent three years and millions of dollars developing a marijuana strain that is “highless.” Seriously, what a drag.
Researchers say this marijuana strain—Avidekel they call it—can be used to ease the symptoms of some illnesses without getting patients high. (Can you imagine the informal trail amongst the growers? Nope, I ‘m not feeling anything. Good!)
Some may ask, “Why spend millions of dollars developing something that’s already a proven therapy?” Tikun Olam’s head of development Zack Klein says, “Sometimes the high is not always what they [patients] need. Sometimes it is an unwanted side effect. For some of the people it’s not even pleasant.” Personally, I can relate to this argument—some medicinal strains are very potent and can leave me disoriented for hours when I’d rather be able to function normally or focus on work but still get some pain relief.
The “highless” marijuana strain is able to work it’s magic—or lack-thereof—because it contains very low amounts of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive substance in cannabis. Conversely, it has very high levels of Cannabidiol (CBD), a cannabinoid that is believed to give marijuana many of its palliative properties. Klein said their marijuana strain contains 15.8 percent CBD and only traces of THC—possibly lower than one percent.
In Israel, medicinal use of marijuana was first permitted in 1993, and today it is used to treat more than 9,000 people suffering from diseases such as cancer, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease and post traumatic stress disorder, according to Israel’s health ministry.
Other drug companies have recently shown interest in marketing cannabis as a medicine. In the U.K., GW Pharmaceuticals recently began selling a marijuana mouth spray, and is currently seeking FDA approval so in can enter the U.S. market.
Honestly, I’m on the fence about this. It’s a plus that the main stream medical marketplace is starting to become more accepting of cannabis treatments, but I can imagine the consumers would bear the brunt of the cost of Big Pharma’s expensive R&D and marketing. What do you guys think?