Tikun Olam, the largest of Israel’s legal medical marijuana producers, is now planting seeds in America — literally. Known in the States as the lifestyle brand Tikun, the company has six strains in particular that it’s now developing in Delaware and Nevada.
“Tikun Olam is transferring its intellectual property and knowledge to support American knowledge through grow techniques, cultivation techniques, the data that comes behind it, the ways to create these genetic profiles in terms of terpene profiles, and taking American capabilities to match what they’ve done in Israel to provide those same benefits,” says Stephen Gardner, chief marketing officer.
The company launched over a decade ago in Israel, and has since developed a number of strains to treat the specific needs of the 10,000 patients who over the years were signed up with Tikun Olam under the country’s medical marijuana program. Because Israel’s program is completely legal, medical marijuana providers have the opportunity to work with scientists, hospitals, doctors, and other clinical researchers to sophisticated strains and products that target particular indications. Israel is leading the world in medical marijuana research; in fact THC and a number of other chemicals in the cannabis plant and the body’s endocannabinoid system, were discovered by Israeli chemist Raphael Mechoulam.
“We genetically develop [the strains] to improve patients’ symptoms and conditions,” says Gardner. “In that time we’ve developed the world’s largest database of clinical or observational data to understand the efficacy of these products for the symptom relief of the patients.”
By working with partners stateside, Tikun is working to develop strain genetics for American patients. The six strains Tikun is focusing on include Avidekel (a 1 percent THC, 15 percent CBD indica), Alaska (a 17 percent THC, 1 percent CBD sativa), Midnight (an 8 percent THC, 8 percent CBD sativa), Eran Almog (a 19 percent THC, 1 percent CBD indica), Erez (a 17 percent THC, 2 percent CBD indica), and Or (a 16 percent THC, 1 percent CBD indica). These strains are meant to treat cancer, depression, Crohn’s disease, eating disorders, palliative disorders, colitis, arthritis, epilepsy, gastrointestinal diseases, PTSD, neurological disorders, Alzheimer’s, AIDS, Parkinson’s, spinal cord injury, pain, and other conditions.
Along with the unique genetic strain profiles, Tikun also formulates and manufactures its products — not just flower, but also tinctures, creams, edibles, and so on — using specific extraction methodology that plays up the entourage effect, or the symbiotic relationship among all the chemicals in the cannabis plant, including cannabinoids (compounds), terpenes (aromatic molecules), and flavonoids (phytonutrients that provide non-green color in plants). Tikun uses only single strain CO2 extract oils, as well as the same terpenes in those oils that were in the original plant. (Other companies often insert synthetic terpenes, or terpenes that came from other organic material beside cannabis.)
“All the intellectual property was developed in Israel, the grow method, extraction method, and working with the data with the knowledge base they’ve had,” says Gardner. “So now we’re working here to develope these strains to provide the same genetic capabilities and efficacy.”