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Israeli Company Clones Cannabis Cells—Not Plants—With Up to 12 Times the Potency

Using a bioreactor, a company in Israel cloned hemp cells to culture them into a powdery biomass that contains all of cannabis’s active compounds and can be dialed up to 12 times the potency. Rehovot is an Israeli company that clones hemp cells at the cellular level.

The technology can reduce waste, which is one of its defining advantages. “Portions of the plant matter from the cannabis plant are waste that can be avoided using BioHarvest Technology,” BioHarvest CEO Ilan Sobel told Chronic NewsSend an email.

“Cannabis plants are grown mostly just for the flower,” Sobel continued. “The flower contains the critical 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.”

The biomass is not grown like a typical plant; instead it’s 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—while regular cannabis takes 14 to 23 weeks. Our tech can also significantly increase the levels of active ingredients, as a percent of the weight, versus what is found normally in the plant.”

BioHarvest’s cannabis biomass is less resource-intensive than other plants, and gram for grams.

Sobel and BioHarvest insist that the cells are not genetically engineered, and that they’re identical to cells found on living plants. So while the technology may sound far-reaching to the untrained ear, it’s a great way to avoid unwanted plant matter waste and increase potency. The biomass they produce is full-spectrum, containing the variety of phytocannabinoids you’d find in a plant.

“Our composition has significant amounts of both major cannabinoids such as CBD and THC as well as significant amounts of what have been termed minor cannabinoids,” Sobel told The Times

It is possible to increase potency through adjusting the conditions within the bioreactor. He continued, “By adjusting specific conditions to which the cells are exposed, we can create different desired compositions of active ingredients, meaning we can dial up and down the various cannabinoids [compounds].”

While the secret technology is not disclosed in full by the team, the group stated that they can increase the potency of 12 times their own proprietary technology simply by altering the environmental conditions inside the bioreactor.

If you’re trying to picture in your head what it looks like, they provide a basic explanation.

BioHarvest Sciences

BioHarvest Sciences team invented Bio-Plant CELLicitation™, which is described in detail on the website. Select plants that contain important active phytochemicals are chosen. They are then cut into smaller pieces, and placed in a Petri dish with nutrients. The cells require light, oxygen and nutrients, just like plants. For perpetual production, those cells are then stored in cell banks. They are biofarmed and when the biomass grows enough, it’s harvested into a powder and the powder can be used for different purposes.

BioHarvest Sciences estimates that each gallon (!) of water can produce 54 times the amount. More bioreactor materials are produced than plants, while land requirements have been reduced by more than 90%.

The system allows producers to eliminate contaminants as well as the variations in cannabis compounds found in marijuana plants.

On May 12, BioHarvest announced the composition of their biomass, saying that trichomes represent 93% of the cannabis biomass produced using the proprietary Bio-Plant CELLicitation™ technology, and the bitter taste of plant matter is significantly reduced.

“The bottom line is that we can make cannabis and hemp far more useful than before, at lower cost to our planetary resources,” Sober told Times. “It is a wellness and sustainability solution from Israel that can provide a truly inspiring contribution to the world.”

After meeting in 2007, Dr. Yochi Hagay, and Dr. Zaki Rakib formed BioHarvest. Beyond cannabis, BioHarvest Sciences’ first product, Vinia, is derived from red grape cells and contains a rich complex of polyphenols which is good for cardiovascular health. The U.S., Canada and Canada are currently represented by the company.