A new strain of cannabis said to have the medicinal properties of marijuana but without the stoney side effects has been undergoing testing in mice, with clinical trials expected to begin in a few months.
Reuters reported last week that Tikun Olam, a government-approved medical marijuana plantation in northern Israel, has developed a new strain of cannabis that contains very low traces of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive component that leaves users feeling high.
This new strain, called Avidekel, contains less than one percent THC, compared to the Tikun Olam's most popular strand, which contains 23 percent.
Marijuana contains more than 60 cannabinoids, including THC, as well as cannabidiol (CBD), which has anti-inflammatory properties. Avidekel contains a 16 percent concentration of CBD, which can offer pain relief without the high.
"It has the same scent, shape and taste as the original plant -- it's all the same -- but the numbing sensation that users are accustomed to has disappeared," said Tzahi Klein, head of development at Tikun Olam, the firm that developed the species.
"Many of our patients who tried the new plant come back to us and say: 'You tricked me,'" because they assumed they had been given a placebo, he said.