Two Israeli, cannabis-based companies are poised to create a line of designer marijuana strains. Genetically bred to manage medical conditions more effectively than those currently available, these designer strains would be genetically altered to help in the battle against specific ailments, such as chronic pain, schizophrenia, depression, rheumatoid arthritis, colitis, liver inflammation, heart disease, and diabetes.
Israel is one of a growing number of countries and states that allow the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. Patients in Israel that want to use marijuana to relieve pain or other ailments must first visit one of the 31 authorized doctors in the country to obtain a prescription and then pick up the cannabis, which is dispensed through local pharmacies.
Theses pharmacies are able to buy their medicinal marijuana through a network of only eight licensed growers. One of the more forward thinking of these is Search Ltd. Search has actually teamed up with an Israeli software developer called BreedIT. In turn, this partnership has spawned a technique to help breeders modify crops to emphasize specific traits and coax out much more of the desired medicinal properties the plants possess and weed out less popular side effects. This new joint venture and strain development project has been dubbed Kanaboseed.
The strain development is based in part on research conducted on the close cousin of cannabis, the tomato plant. With the tomato plant, scientists were able to identify a ripening inhibitor gene that guarantees a longer shelf life for the fruit. Using these findings, Kanaboseed hopes to develop strains of cannabis that have improved THC and CBD ratios and anticipates a new line of engineered cannabis varieties that will be used to address specific medical issues. Once approved, the company hopes to be granted patents for the developed strains.