Israeli company clones cannabis cells, not plants, up to 12 times more potent
BioHarvest Sciences is changing the way we view the cannabis plant. The company behind this technology claims that each gram of its product will treat patients far more effectively than a gram of cannabis plant, while requiring far less water and other resources.
Cloned cannabis cells, 12 times more potent, grown in an Israeli bioreactor
Using a bioreactor, an Israeli company has cloned hemp cells to grow them into a powdery biomass that contains all of the active compounds in cannabis and is 12 times more potent. Not to be confused with the horticultural practice of cloning, BioHarvest Sciences, based in Rehovot, Israel, practices cloning at the cellular level.
BioHarvest Sciences says this breakthrough could make the medical benefits of cannabis available in a cheaper, cleaner and more environmentally friendly form. The company has started applying for the necessary licenses to manufacture and sell its product for medical use in Israel and the United States.
“We don't grow the plant at all,” Ilan Sobel, CEO of BioHarvest, told The Times of Israel. Instead, the process involves “replicating” cells taken from a hemp plant in large reservoirs called bioreactors to produce huge numbers of identical cells.https://bioharvest.com/bioharvest-introduces-its-1st-cannabis-breakthrough-composition-with-major-medical-and-commercial-implications/
“We grow them in huge bioreactors in just three weeks – whereas regular cannabis takes 14 to 23 weeks,” Sobel said. “Our technology also enables the levels of active ingredients to be significantly increased, in percentage by weight, compared to what is normally found in the plant. »
So each gram coming out of Rehovot's bioreactor requires less water and other resources to grow than a gram from a cannabis plant — and will allow patients to be treated for much longer, Sobel said.
He expects the impact of his innovation on the cannabis market to be "staggering". He wouldn't elaborate on the proprietary technology used, but said the power was increased 12-fold just by changing the environment inside the bioreactor.
Sobel said, “By adjusting the specific conditions cells are exposed to, we can create different desired compositions of active ingredients, which means we can increase or decrease different cannabinoids [compounds]. »
The biomass that comes out of the bioreactor is made up of cells identical to those found in plant-derived cannabis, and there are no genetic modifications, Sobel said. Patients can receive the product in smokable form or in pills, drops, chewing gum, and a range of other formats.
In addition to containing high levels of active compounds, biomass is full-spectrum, meaning it contains the full variety of chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant, not just some of them.
"Our composition contains significant amounts of major cannabinoids such as CBD and THC, as well as significant amounts of so-called minor cannabinoids," Sobel said.
The company plans to reveal additional information about its line of high-THC cannabis products by the end of the year.
One of the advantages of this technology is that it helps to minimize waste. “Parts of the plant material in the cannabis plant are waste products that can be avoided with BioHarvest technology,” said Ilan Sobel, CEO of BioHarvest.
"Cannabis plants are grown primarily just for the flower," Sobel continued. “The flower contains essential trichomes which are the source of cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids. BioHarvest's technology allows it to grow cannabis cells with 93% trichomes in its bioreactors. »
Biomass is not grown like a typical plant; rather, it is produced in a bioreactor. "We don't grow the plant at all," Sobel told the Times of Israel. “We grow them in huge bioreactors in just three weeks – whereas regular cannabis takes 14 to 23 weeks. Our technology also allows the levels of active ingredients to be significantly increased, in percentage by weight, compared to what is normally found in the plant. »
And gram for gram, the BioHarvest team says their cannabis biomass requires less water and resources than plants.
Sobel and BioHarvest insist that the cells are not genetically modified and are identical to those of living plants. While this technology may sound far reaching to the untrained ear, it is a great way to avoid unwanted plant waste and increase potency. The biomass they produce is full-spectrum, containing the variety of phytocannabinoids found in a plant.
“Our composition contains significant amounts of major cannabinoids such as CBD and THC, as well as significant amounts of so-called minor cannabinoids,” Sobel told The Times.
The team is able to increase the power by adjusting the conditions inside the bioreactor. He continues, “By adjusting the specific conditions that cells are exposed to, we can create different desired compositions of active ingredients, which means we can increase or decrease different cannabinoids [compounds]. »
The team won't reveal details of the proprietary technology, but they say they can increase the power by 12 times, simply by changing the environment inside the bioreactor.
If you try to imagine what it looks like in your head, they provide a basic explanation.
A plant is selected that contains important active phytochemicals. Then they are cut into small pieces and inserted into a Petri dish on a solid medium that contains nutrients. Like a plant, cells need light, oxygen and nutrients. Then these cells are stored in a cell bank for perpetual production. They are grown organically and when the biomass grows enough, it is harvested in the form of powder which can be used for different purposes.
BioHarvest Sciences claims that each gallon of water produces 54 times more material for the bioreactor than plant material, and soil requirements are reduced by more than 90%. This system also allows growers to avoid contaminants and avoid the variation in cannabis compounds that nature imposes on plants.
On May 12, BioHarvest announced the composition of its biomass, stating that trichomes represent 93% of the cannabis biomass produced using the exclusive Bio-Plant CELLicitation™ technology, and that the bitter taste of the plant material is significantly reduced.
“The bottom line is that we can make cannabis and hemp much more useful than before, at less cost to our planetary resources,” Sober said. “It's a wellness and sustainability solution that can make a truly inspiring contribution to the world. »
Dr. Yochi Hagay and Dr. Zaki Rakib founded BioHarvest after meeting in 2007. Beyond cannabis, BioHarvest Sciences' first product, Vinia, is derived from red grape cells and contains a rich polyphenol complex that is good for cardiovascular health. The company is currently present in the United States and Canada.