The legalization of cannabis worldwide is leading to some incredible innovations and discoveries. Though Israel hasn’t legalized cannabis for recreational use, the launch of a medical market has expanded their research. From cannabis’s effects on the mind and its medicinal properties to the impact the marijuana industry has on climate change, Israeli cannabis companies are shifting the way we look at the plant.
The latest development comes from Israeli company BioHarvest, who’ve discovered a new way to clone cannabis cells instead of the plant itself. BioHarvest’s CEO Ilan Sobel told High Times that they’d used a bioreactor to replicate hemp cells to cultivate it into a potent powdery substance. The flower alternative contains all the active cannabis compounds consumers want. However, BioHarvest can increase its potency by nearly 12x that of bud.
Sobel explained that this method has plenty of benefits, including reducing waste. He said that BioHarvest’s technology could help companies avoid wasting plant matter that they otherwise wouldn’t use. Even better, it requires less water and resources than plants. Sobel added that the technology elevates the trichomes, which produce cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. Bioharvest can grow “cannabis cells with 93% trichomes in its bioreactors.”
It’s a groundbreaking discovery that can change the trajectory of the cannabis industry as a whole. Using a bioreactor instead of the typical harvesting process cuts out having to grow plants themselves, which can take anywhere from 14 to 23 weeks. In three weeks, the bioreactors can mass-produce cannabis cells that are even stronger than the plants themselves.
Some may have concerns about using bioreactors to produce cannabis cells, but Sobel insisted that they aren’t genetically engineered. It’s the exact same cells found in the plant, including major cannabinoids like CBD and THC. However, bioreactors allow their team to tinker with the cells to “create different desired compositions of active ingredients.” The development means they can produce higher potency of the cannabinoids simply by changing the environment in the bioreactor.
As a result of their latest discovery, BioHarvest launched the Bio-Plant CELLicitation on their website. The invention focuses on biofarming. Through CELLicitation, the plant containing critical phytochemicals is cut and placed on a Petri dish with the proper nutrients. After feeding these cells the right nutrients and sufficient light and oxygen, they’re stored in a cell bank where they’re biofarmed and reproduce significantly more cells. The cells do not turn into flower, though, but a powder with versatile use. The CELLicitation invention can be relatively cost-efficient for businesses, as a gallon of water produces 54x more than plant material. Meanwhile, the use of land is cut by 90%.
Though it’s still in its early stages, BioHarvest’s latest invention can be a massive solution to some of the most significant issues facing the cannabis industry today, whether in Israel or North America.