|They grow in a secret location in northern Israel. A tall fence,
security cameras and an armed guard protect them from criminals. A hint
of their sweet-scented blossom carries in the air: rows and rows of
cannabis plants, as far as the eye can see. It is here, at a medical
marijuana plantation atop the hills of the Galilee, where researchers of
the Tikun Olam company have developed marijuana that can be used to ease
the symptoms of some ailments without getting patients high.
Cannabis has more than 60 constituents called cannabinoids. THC is
perhaps the best known of those, less so for its medical benefits and
more for its psychoactive properties that give people a 'high' feeling.
But cannabis also contains Cannabidiol, or CBD, a substance that some
researchers say has anti-inflammatory benefits. Unlike THC, it hardly
binds to the brain's receptors and can therefore work without getting
Tikun Olam began its research on CBD enhanced cannabis in 2009 and about
six months ago they came up with Avidekel, a cannabis strain that
contains 15.8% CBD and only traces of THC, less than one percent.
Marijuana is an illegal drug in Israel. Medicinal use of it was first
permitted in 1993, according to the health ministry. Today cannabis is
used in Israel to treat 9,000 people suffering from illnesses such as
cancer, Parkinson's, multiple sclerosis, Crohn's disease and post
traumatic stress disorder, according to Israel's health ministry.