Ultimate Buzz Kill: Israelis Develop “Highless” Marijuana

First alcohol-free beer and now “highless” marijuana. Israeli researchers have developed a medicinal marijuana that can ease the symptoms of some ailments without producing the euphoric high of pot. For many this may seem like tasteless cake or non-alochoiic vodka, but the discovery could lead to some interesting legal and political issues.

The culprit (or appeal) in marijuana is Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Researchers believe that the benefits widely reported from medicial marijuana comes from Cannabidiol, or CBD, a substance that gives anti-inflammatory benefits.

Israeli grower, Tikun Olam, has developed Avidekel, containing 15.8 per cent CBD and less than 1 percent traces of THC. Viola! Your Grateful Dead concert now sounds like a chamber music shows at the community center.

Of course, this assumes that patients are also not benefitting from the euphoric impact of the marijuana in easing pain. Like most Americans, I support the use of medical marijuana and I have no problem with patients receiving a high from the drug when struggling with things like terminal cancer. My mother-in-law died of breast cancer and my wife tells me that marijuana was the only thing that gave her any relief from the pain — a common report from patients.

This could present an interesting problem if the marijuana is still smoked but without the high. Police would have a difficult time distinguishing the products if smoked — assuming non-high marijuana is declared legal. The basis for banning non-high marijuana would be dubious at best. However, if smoked, the government could require some additives to distinguish the smell.

Of course this becomes moot if the growing movement for decriminalization continues. If that is the case, you can have your THC and CBD too.

Source: ABCIsrael

34 thoughts on “Ultimate Buzz Kill: Israelis Develop “Highless” Marijuana

  1. Works for me. The stuff makes me sick. And this experience is from 40 years ago when it was far weaker than now, and a couple tokes made nausea the rule of the day. Or night. I hope I never need it, but this development gives hope.

  2. Cannabidiol being the source of marijuana’s healing properties is no secret. I live at ground zero for marijuana cultivation in CA and you might say that the “technicians” that grow mj are very well versed in all positive aspects of their product as is much of the population that uses it for medical reasons or enjoys it purely as recreation. This science is fantastic, but it won’t change the conception among anti-legalization folks that mj is an all or nothing plant until the pro-legalization people wage an all out information war on the distinction between the THC and Cannabidiol acids within the plant and really push it as a medicine (in much the same way that compounds in red wine are known to be beneficial to a person’s heart).

  3. Am amazed no one has mentioned that THC-less “hemp” has been cultivated for 30+ years. It was cultivated as good fodder source, good oil supplier, and for its fiber used in making many products, including rope.

    Whether that closely observed prodution was allowed to continue I am not aware.

    What if any percent it had of CBD was not stated as I recall.

  4. One of the reasons given as to hemp’s illegality is that the thugs, er, I mean agents, can’t tell the difference between it and the happy stuff. So how could they tell the difference between happy stuff and happy stuff light??? Also, it would still mean less profit for pharma if folks could grow their own.
    I don’t see this becoming legal anytime soon

  5. “Highless” pot is like alcohol free beer, why bother? As for it’s illness soothing properties, does anyone really know whether or not the “high” adds to its benefits?

  6. If police couldn’t tell the difference between “high-producing marijuana” and “non-high-producing marijuana” and they had to give up the stupid marijuana capers, taxpayers wouldn’t suffer too terribly.

    I have a friend dying of cancer in Oregon. She never tried MJ until it became the only drug that helped her be able to take nourishment. Why anybody could get hyped up about the illegality of this plant is beyond me. In South Africa, during Apartheid, the owners of the mines GAVE THEIR “EMPLOYEES” (miners were more like slaves than employees of course) free marijuana to keep them mellow and productive. FREE. At the same time, in the city, the servant class (generally wives and other relatives of the miners who were being given free marijuana) could be arrested any day of the week for six months at a clip for having a single leaf of the stuff. It’s past being idiotic and into being HELP I CAN’T BREATHE FROM LAUGHING AND CRYING AT THE SAME TIME.

  7. Mike S.

    The $64,000 question:

    ” does anyone really know whether or not the “high” adds to its benefits?”

  8. The “high” is what helps the brain cope with the whole state of being in pain to do chronic illness. It’s more than “just pain relief.”

  9. Marinol, a synthetic form of THC, has been out on the market for years. There is no “high” (I was given it years ao for my chronic pain and had no benefit.)
    According to the DEA “The active ingredient of Marinol is synthetic THC, which has been found to relieve the nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy for cancer patients and to assist with loss of appetite with AIDS patients.”
    It seems to me if there is proof that marijuana does have medicinal benefits, and sure seems to: for glaucoma, some folks with CIP says it helps their chronic pain, help with wasting by pping appetite, etc then stop fooling around already, do some good solid research and let pharma make a ton on it.. Thinking about i yo uwould think pharmawould be in first in line clamoring for it to be legal but with enough ‘safeguards’ that they would be forced to be the guardians of it.
    (Many years go I contacted a site, in Canada, that provided marijuana seeds for those with medical illness. I planted them in a sink in my workroom and they grew beautifully.
    One morning my cat was really enjoying himself, running and rolling around, chasing something I couldn’t see.
    I walked into the workroom and all the tops of the plants had been eaten off. For a couple of hours he was probably the happiest cat on earth)

  10. My kid spent a few years smoking up and I didn’t carry on too much about it — he was an adult by then and living in a place where a white kid (he’s white) wouldn’t get rousted for that activity. Later on, we discovered that he had been suffering from a chronic and incurable disease for the prior 9 years, while doctors kept telling him there was no reason for his pain and he must have pulled a muscle or sprained something or he was a complainer or blah blah blah. When it (ankylosing spondylitis) WAS diagnosed, he had already given up the pot and the pain had become so much worse that he couldn’t just ignore it any more. By going to six doctors in a row, he finally got a diagnosis, and it was subsequently confirmed. I think the MJ was helping him cope with the pain. Since his diagnosis, we paid a fortune for him to visit a place in NJ that has developed a non-invasive lifestyle technique that has helped him considerably in dealing with the illness, and it’s all based on regulation of the activities of the heart and musculoskeletal system, so I believe that one way or another, physiologically, his body is now able to produce whatever MJ was giving his body during the “toking years.” No way to confirm this by a controlled experiment, of course…

  11. Malisha I am so glad he is feeling better. I, o fcourse, have to get on my soapbox for a second. Those in chronic initractable pain often have a hard time being believed, and not just by friends, and family but by members of the medical community. As more people become aware of these diseases that have pain as the sole or main complaint hopefully we will have an easier time being believed, diagnosed and properly treated.

  12. We already have a ‘highless’ marijuana, as idealist points out.

    . It is called industrial hemp. The seeds are a perfect food for the human brain with the best known fat ration of Omega 3 to 6.
    The plant is also the best source to make ethanol. Henry Ford made his first cars to run on hemp oil instead of petroleum.
    This plant can also be used to make hemp crete, a building material that insulates and ‘breathes’ and also is a thermal sink to store heat or cooling. Many buildings that use zero energy for heating and cooling are made from hemp mixed with lime.

    It makes the most beautiful fabrics that last longer and are stronger than cotton or flax. I hope one day it will be legal to grow in rotation in the US. We need to improve our top soils from decades of Round Up and other toxins. The industrial hemp would clean our soils enough to plant real food in them again.

    We must push to take marijuana off the Schedule 1 list. It is stupid that the government allows ‘medical marijuana; and than at the same time has it classified as a poison with no medical properties. Then researchers could really study all the cannabinoids for anti cancer benefits and other medications.

    We could have whole new industrial plants and lots of new jobs if we legalized industrial hemp. Let the old industries renovate or fail if they refuse. We could be making auto bodies out of hemp as well as replace every single use piece of plastic with biodegradable hemp substitute.

  13. I’m in the why bother camp…… Like alcohol free beverages…… Such as beer…… Or ……. Why use a condom when it’s just you……

  14. It would seem that pharmaceutical forms of Cannabidiol (“CBD”) may available in the not too distant future, based on developments in patent filings, per http://www.google.com/patents/US20030166727. If this thing ever flies, pharmaceuticals will probably be the form of CBD that the FDA will approve, rendering the smokeable version moot.

  15. I think the lumber companies were the initial lobbyists for making hemp illegal. Hemp just grows soooo much faster than trees.

    The pharmaceutical joined them awaiting their R$D patents for the drug instead of toke. MJ will probably continue to be illegal b/c there will be a pharma alternative. Screw the farmers, take a pill.

  16. I am envisioning a future world where it is completely legal for governments to exterminate all the “old” marijuana and repopulate the planet with this high-less garbage. Hell, with Republicans in charge they’ll just outsource the job to Monsanto. Sure, it isn’t that much different from right now where taking a puff of herb that makes you feel good for a few hours can land you in jail or worse, but it still isn’t a world I want to live in.

  17. Malisha,

    I have been having back problems for the past few years, and the doctors have been telling me the same thing, that they can’t explain my back pain. They keep giving me narcotics, because the back pain often keeps me up at night, but the drugs make me so nauseous. Ive though about marijuana as a substitute to help me sleep. Last week my orthopedic surgeon saw something in my xrays and suspected that it could be ankylosing spondylitis, so I’m currently awaiting the results of a blood test to find out if Im positive for HLA-b27. Im sorry to hear about your son, but it is good to hear that he has found something to keep the pain under control.

  18. pete,

    Some usually do MINE. Good point, must be the profit motive.

    Let me use you to say:


    It was the feds faced with thousands of acres they could not differentiate from real MJ hemp which made it untenable, for them only. The sourcing of seed was well controlled to prevent problems. But organized cheating was so easy too. Dilemma.
    With the Israeli alternative you still got the same problem. So Monsanto variant is necessary, ie a version which is RoundUp resistant, and that “natural” MJ is not. Voila.


  19. But industrial hemp does not need inputs at all in most places.

    It grows so close together and is so high that weeds cannot compete. It needs no fertilizer as it improves poor soils and had been used for centuries to do so.

    It needs no herbicides, pesticides and in most places, no irrigation.

    That is why it beats both trees and cotton, why farmers need this crop and why is is a crime for it to be illegal anywhere.

  20. Shano,

    Is it resistant to RoundUp or 2,4-D agent orange?

    Otherwise we could have secret bombings of MJ seeds all over the country. Passive resistence? Sabotage?

    In which countries is it grown as a commercial crop? India?.

  21. Canada, Australia and most of Europe, eastern Europe. They are building houses out of hemp crete in Austrailia, Ireland, etc.

    No, there has been no reason for Monsanto et al to genetically engineer this plant so it would be killed by Round up and 2,4-D. But there is no reason to do so because weeds are NOT a problem for this crop.

    It is the cheapest way to produce tons of fiber for industry. All sorts of industries could use this cheap source of fiber, very tough fiber, and it would bring down the costs of anything now made with petrol, like plastics.

    There is a seed bank in Russia that has the widest collection of hemp cultivars that could be lost before we can research their properties:

    The most important project of the International Hemp Association is a grant of humanitarian aid to the N. I. Vavilov Institute of Plant Industry (VIR) in St. Petersburg, Russia. The VIR was founded in 1924 by plant collector and geneticist N.I. Vavilov (Fig. 1), one of the first scientists to recognize the importance of plant genetic resources conservation. The institute is the longest existing seed bank in the world and houses a priceless collection of over 400,000 seed accessions.

    The Department of Industrial Crops of the VIR maintains the largest Cannabis germplasm collection in the world. Most of these accessions are either wild landraces or fiber hemp varieties, and many of them are found in no other gene banks. Under normal storage conditions, hemp seeds can be kept for about 5 years before losing viability. Maintaining a Cannabis collection therefore involves reproducing the accessions at least once every 5 years. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the funding of the VIR has dramatically decreased, threatening the maintenance of its collections.

    If the Cannabis accessions of the VIR are not reproduced they will surely become extinct before their true value is ever realized and utilized.

  22. Be Fruitful and multiply

    Well, just to remind the Christians here, God’s command to man was to husband his gift. And God did not point out any of his creations as being evil or more worthy of keeping than another. Right?

    Why all this religious talk from me? Well, sometimes the message must be adapted to pass through the recipients filters to be absorbed. So this was one attempt at that.

    I think what Shano wrote above is a perfect example of where we are not doing our husbandry job. There can be thousands of organic compounds with potentially good effects to be found in this seed bank.

    And this is equally true of the jungles of the Amazon, or that of New Guinea. And we rape and pillage and grab our immediate spoils, and destroy God’s gift to us.

    Irrevocably destroyed.

    Odd, I think.

  23. There is currently no GMO cannabis. At least, I know of none. If ANYTHING is GMO cannabis it is perhaps drugs such as “Spice” and other synthetic cannabinoids made all over the world. Even there, it is not GMO; it is all the work of clever and industrious organic chemists building sub-molecular compounds that trigger CB1 receptors.

    GMO means genetically modified by a person/corporation/someone. If strains are found or bred in nature, it is just plant biology; nothing less and nothing more.

    Unless someone has some evidence anywhere for true genetic modification, we really must be careful about making this claim. It is not correct and it makes us look silly. There will soon be an announcement of a sub 1% THC strain with >12% CBD found amongst hundred of random seeds inside California. I don’t even know anyone who has the tools and skills to make genetic alterations to the plant.

    Why is any of this so surprising anyway? We are talking about a strain that is rich CBD hemp. It has always been out there, just harder and harder to find.

    IF this were the work of some crazy GMO lab, why not get rid of all the THC? Why leave in enough to probably still test positive in drug screens? I would think that any serious GMO effort would just knock out the dominant THC gene and left the recessive CBD gene alone? It was only a few years ago when we were unable to test for any CBD in any strain. Many medical and grow advocates have been looking for this “holy grail” and a few have found it. With more work and more people and more time, we will certainly find other great strains. How about a strain that contains rich THCV? That would be another miracle strain for seizure disorders and certain cardiac problems. Will that be GMO?? If there really are GMO voodoo folks out there, please create a strain with lots of THCV.

    Finally, why are people so down on the great plant we all love? Do you guys really think that this would not be found in nature? If so, why? In recent years many, many rich CBD plants have been found. We never had them before for us to study and now we have a bunch. More GMO???

    BTW, you for certain do not need to stick with strains with <1% THC to call them "Highless". Even with a 2:1 CBD:THC ratio there is virtually no high. If you go 10:1, you would expect even less psychoactivity. Now we are over 20:1. Awesome, but it is all from the existing gene pool.

    Allan I Frankel, MD

  24. I can’t wait to comeback and read the rest of the posts, but through a quick look I didn’t see anyone mention the US Patent held on Cannabinoids by way of the Health and Human Services Department of the Federal Government.

    First of all, the US government lists Cannabis as a schedule 1 drug saying, strictly, that the drug holds absolutely NO medicinal benefit while at the same time it holds a patent on Cannabinoids in Cannabis for their ability to not only treat a wide range of ailments but also to PREVENT a wide range of ailments…some of those ailments include dementia and alzheimers.

    So how can the US hold a PATENT saying that Marijuana has medicinal benefits, while at the same time making Marijuana illegal because ‘it has not medicinal benefits’

    Any of you legal folk have any sort of explanation for how they can do that?

    Secondly, If the US Government holds a Patent on Cannabis/Cannabinoids how does that affect this Israeli ‘kush’ and its marketability?

    All in all, I am of the opinion that cannabinoids play an important medicial role, but THC does as well. Let’s not forget, it was THC that was shown to shrink cancerous cells. At the same time, having used it to treat severe back pain, I know the ‘high’ is a part of its benefit. (I had a thrown out back and was able to stretch it back into correct form only with the pain relief from being ‘high’)

  25. I currently work at a Ca Dispensory, this is a place of healing. The product with out the physiological effects is a productive medication. I would rather the ones looking for the high just purchase and leave. I am aware of the amazing uses of the plant and how it must have some THC because of our body’s receptors. It is in the forefront of the medical breakthroughs and will be until either China or USA begin to find the true reasons and uses behind. This gifted plant. I do not medicate but my wife does. This is a plant that can save livesand the economy.

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