Although medicinal mushrooms combined with cannabis may sound like a formula dreamed up by an enterprising pothead, it is actually a unique product offered by Israeli company Cannabotech. "We believe that in a few years, there will be no differentiation in cannabis growing. There will be no difference between most of the farmers, just like farmers who grow food," says Cannabotech cofounder and CEO Elchanan Shaked. He says that differentiation will result from special compounds of cannabis with other medicinal herbs, including mushrooms.
"Every cannabis plant has 30-40 cannabinoids that are active in the body and a total of several hundred cannabinoids. We believe that the secret to the plant's activity lies in cannabinoids that appear in small quantities in the plant. If you change the ratios between them and increase their concentration in the final product, very high medical effectiveness and unique compounds for treatment of various diseases can be attained," Shaked declares.
The company has developed five such products to date for treatment of colon cancer, unexplained infertility, fatty liver, reduction of inflammatory activity, and heart and vascular diseases. These products are awaiting clinical trials.
"Globes": Many cannabis patients swear by the virtues of the complete plant, in which the ratio of the ingredients is the same as in nature. How will you convince them that a different ratio of ingredients is better?
Shaked: "We'll use science to show them. We believe that the entire industry is moving in this direction. Today, only 1% of the population consumes cannabis. We believe that far larger population groups will consume scientifically demonstrated special compounds for specific diseases."
The compounds are being developed with the help of Prof. Fuad Fares, one of the inventors of the technology used by Prolor Biotech, which developed delayed release technology for protein-based drugs. This technology makes it possible to inject drugs at intervals of a week or longer, instead of daily.
Several companies, including in Israel, are planning to develop cannabis compounds in which the ration of active ingredients in the plant is altered. What is special about Cannabotech is the inclusion of mushrooms. "Penicillin originates in mushrooms, as does chemotherapy," Shaked says. "The benefits of mushrooms have been the subject of research for thousands of years. Prof. Solomon Wasser has been researching mushrooms at the University of Haifa for decades. He has huge libraries containing ingredients from mushrooms and the information that he has gathered over the years about treatment using them and their interactions with other ingredients."
Cannabotech recently embarked on a crowdfunding project. "We believe in building the company from below, without direction from capital market people," Shaked says. "I believe in raising capital from the public, but without receipts. As of now, we aren't suitable for investment by venture capital funds, although they are taking an interest. When we have results, we'll be of interest to larger concerns."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on October 29, 2019
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