An Israeli company says it is growing medical marijuana with a special twist — it offers some of the same therapeutic benefits without the high.
According to Reuters, the company, Tikun Olam, is cultivating a type of cannabis plant that has high levels of a substance called Cannabidiol (CBD) believed to have anti-inflammatory properties.
What the plants do not have is tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the compound that gives many marijuana users the characteristic high.
Medical marijuana advocates tout the drug as an effective remedy for numerous symptoms, including pain and nausea. Studies have also found marijuana to be effective in relieving symptoms of multiple sclerosis. Zack Klein, Tikum Olan’s director of development, said the company’s THC-free marijuana offers symptom relief without the mind-altering effects.
“Sometimes the high is not always what they need. Sometimes it is an unwanted side effect. For some of the people it’s not even pleasant,” Klein told Reuters.
Experts in the U.S. say there has been very little research on how the specific compounds in marijuana affect people’s health, so it is difficult to predict how well this type of marijuana will work.
“With just regular marijuana, there is a mix between THC — the more neurologically active component — and CBD,” said Dr. Igor Grant, director of the University of California San Diego’s Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research. “There is still ongoing research to try to understand the actions of THC and CBD and how they interact.”