New, Low-THC Marijuana Should Relieve Pain Without the High

By Sophie Bushwick | July 6, 2012 11:55 am


Marijuana, long known as a recreational drug, has earned some respectability with its growing reputation as a pain reliever for those who suffer from cancer, multiple sclerosis, and other ailments. And now, cannabis’s seedy reputation may go entirely to pot: a new strain called Avidekel preserves the drug’s medical properties but does not get users high.

The effects of various breeds of marijuana depend on their balance of the chemicals called cannabinoids. One cannabinoid, called tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, acts on the brain’s cannabinoid receptors to create the sensation of being high. While this feeling is the goal for recreational users, it can be an unwanted side effect for patients who smoke medical marijuana to relieve their pain and then find themselves unable to work, run errands in a car, or function normally until the drug’s effects wear off. The primary reason these users turn to marijuana in the first place is a different cannabinoid, called cannabidiol, which reduces inflammation without any psychoactive side effects.

Israeli company Tikun Olam (Hebrew for “healing the world”) grows medical marijuana, and has been breeding their crop to reduce the levels of psychoactive THC while maintaining the anti-inflammatory cannabidiol. Their work culminated in Avidekel, a marijuana breed containing 15.8 percent cannabidiol but mere traces of THC. Although Avidekel has been approved for medical use, its psychoactive properties—or lack thereof—have only been tested in mice. Clinical trials in humans are still in the works, and may allow researchers to prove that the strain can decrease the buzz of pain without giving an actual buzz.

[via Wired Science]

Image courtesy of Bogdan / Wikimedia Commons

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine
  • Mac

    I’ll say what we’re thinking…. Why would you want that?

  • scribbler

    Ah, but the “high” is a plus in pain relief, not a negative, in my opinion…


  • Vierotchka

    Problem here is the fact that it is THC that relieves pain and has so many curative properties for so many different diseases. This new strain of cannabis is tantamount to making acetylsalicylic acid-free aspirin with no analgesic properties.

  • Iain

    Sure, take the fun out of everything. I don’t see it catching on

  • Hypnotic Dreams

    It should still never be smoked. The smoke seeps through to neighboring apartments and can trigger asthma attacks or sinus problems.

  • Max

    This would be a great tobacco alternative. I would love to replace my normal cigarettes with marijuana cigarettes that don’t get me high so I can still function properly.

  • Robert Manke

    please see #7 as this has been edited, thank you bob

  • Robert Manke

    As a serious pain patient who has been on about every narcotic pain suppressant that can be scripted, I have witnessed three times before the Iowa Board of Pharmacy, after which they unanimously voted to legalize medical marijuana in Iowa. I hasten to add there were other people witnessing who were far worse off than I am, broken spine or not. The Iowa Board of Pharmacy was lauded by the national version for the decision to take Iowa into the twenty first century and I was very pleased to be part of my home state’s growth out of reefer madness and the lies behind it.

    But, the Fear, the taught loathing, the lies and paranoia that has been systematically inculcated into the public mind if pot is smoked, for example, continue to transform well minded citizens into a protecting mode that has caused terrible harm to the ill.

    My retired, federal Registered Nurse wife watched in shock as I kicked medical morphine addiction right in front of her out in Oregon with the access my new Oregon Medical Marijuana Card got me. What she saw with her own highly trained eyes ran totally counter to what she had been taught. What she saw changed her.

    Dear Readers, you need to see the whole truth for yourself and that is why I write.

    When I came back to Iowa and had to quit the pot or be arrested was I suffering the pangs of morphine withdrawl because I had substituted one ugly narcotic for another? No. There is utterly no withdrawl of any kind from marijuana.

    This was high percentage of THC pot I had out in Oregon.

    My message here is several-fold. One, THC is medicine, don’t lose sight of that with the abstraction of a high CBD version. Two, high CBD pot is probably a very good idea and I am glad, as a profound pain patient, to have this come forward. Three, can we please learn, as the great nation that we are, that pot Never killed anyone in the thousands of years of mankind’s experience with it. Pot is very safe.

    I have never seen pink elephants on it. Never experienced withdrawl. Never seen or felt a morning after hangover like alcohol or cocaine has. There is no intoxication like alcohol has. It is genuinely different.

    Marijuana is as I described it to the Iowa Board of Pharmacy, “It’s somewhere between the NSAIDs and the opiates in pain killing.”

    In closing, I would like to say, “Thank God for my friend, Carl Olsen! You are the hero to millions who do not know you!” He and I are involved in a on-going lawsuit here in Iowa to force marijuana off from schedule one, which declares there is no use for pot as well as other falsehoods such as it is addicting, which it isn’t.

    Please pray for our success. Thank you very much for your time. bob

  • http://Stu'sviewsandMSnews hithere

    I do NOT want the high and would try this in an instant if it helped with my spasticity. Typically, I do not have pain, except frm severe muscle cramps during sleep. However, the muscle issues caused by spasticity can make it very difficult to even function well.

  • RJD

    Oh, thank heavens. Getting high is so inconvenient, who would ever want such a bothersome thing?

  • Bruwer

    Obviously these people have not done their literature research before commencing work.
    This is old stuff.
    There already such versions being used.

  • Sparkicus


    PS, @Hypnotic Dreams: Cannabis can be vaporized or ingested and need not be smoked. You should do some reading on this, I think.

  • Chris

    THC-Free pot?

    For the love of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, why??

    It’s almost as sad as non-alcoholic beer.

    I think the “high” is an added bonus.

    If I have to sit around puking after my chemo, why on earth would I want to do it with total clarity of thought rather than cop a buzz and forget about the bottom of the toilet bowl for a while?

    Thanks, guys. No… really :(

  • Jim

    All the time and effort put into eliminating the “negative” side of Marijuana, but any other legal drug has way more potentially fatal side effects. Congrats, society.

  • Rob Evans, B.Sc., M.Sc.

    Dear Discover Magazine ( 80 Beats ):

    May be what those in alcohol treatment are looking for.. The Alcoholic is very authoritive on the addictive side and there are medical people who are investigating the “High” you get and how to do away with it.

    More work to do yet. About 10 % of the general population have alcohol related problems and need to be helped without given some-sort of a “derogitory level” just to make matters worse. Announce you are having a problem with alcoholic and even the COMPASSIONATE people disapear through the floorboards. For those on the “Far Right” who love giving people “LABELS”. I have yet to see why putting on labels makes the problem go away. Instant solutions sometimes make the problem worse. We try so hard to help “THEM” and they do not care

  • Brian Too

    In breaking news, interest in medical marijuana plummets!

  • daveh

    Well…..FDA Drug approval requires that the company prove that the combination is superior to each entity alone.

  • Maris B. Mohr

    Here, here! I’ve got MS, FMS, and degenerative scoliosis. The only thing that helps the severe, combined pain is my once-a-day inhalation. Not being a smoker I don’t like smoking herb either, so I got myself an herb vaporizer and get total relief.

    People with the monsanto company instigated paranoia of marijuana way back in the 1940s or 50s (something like that) to prevent hemp from being developed which would have been a danger to the growing synthetics industries. They had a strong enough lobby to cause the federal gov’t to outlaw marijuana and include it in the list of dangerous, addictive drugs.

    Now really . . . just like prohibition in the 1920s, when something is de-legalized it becomes the property of criminals and gangsters. They were the only ones who could/would dare to provide the supply to meet the demand. The same with “drugs”, i.e. marijuana.

  • Mike

    I am in pain mngmnt 2.5 years following injury to spinal cord and tear of two rotator cuffs, plus degenerative disc disease. PT taught me how to exercise and “self-correct” my posture and how to perform daily activities. I had to retire early, remain active, but have noticed that use if THC (say, half a dozen times in 4 months or so), has made me MORE aware of my pain on three of those occasions. The pain is chronic and affects everything from my hamstrings up. I wonder if the explanation is b/c it was late in the day and I was already fatigued OR perhaps b/c THC increases one’s awareness of just about everything, then… Can’t explain. Any ideas?

  • Mike

    No need to submit previous comment. Duh! I am referring of course to PRN medical marijuana, legal here. It is prescribed for my 40 years of PTSD, not for pain mgmnt. So the concern is how to balance treatment of different conditions. I’ll just get back the docs b/c the issue is probably one of potency. Duh, the answer occurred to me!


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