The dawn of medical marijuana in Israel
For many countries, research into the potential medicinal effects of marijuana is relatively new, but for others, like Israel, the research has been ongoing for decades. In fact, Israel seized 10 pounds of the drug all the way back in the 1960’s and has been researching its psychoactive ingredients and medicinal properties ever since.
In Israel, and many other countries around the world, the drug is still considered dangerous and is highly illegal when it comes to any type of recreational use. Yet, understanding the medicinal properties and capabilities of the drug is something that many are still working on and with Israel’s experience in this area; it’s coming to the very center of this research.
Discussions are currently being held to determine whether medical marijuana should be an export from the country, though it’s unclear whether this will be approved. At this point, the country continues to research the drug and determine what can and should be done with it. The Volcani Center is creating an entirely new national institute to carry out additional research and millions of shekels have been provided to fund companies that utilize and research the product.
Led by the Health Ministry, new reforms are making it possible for an unlimited number of growers to exist within the country and an ever expanding list of doctors allowed to prescribe it as well. Even research is being expanded and encouraged in all of its forms. Though the leader of the Health Ministry, Yaakov Litzman, is not in favor of recreational use of pot, he is leading the changes to make medicinal marijuana more available.
Currently, in Israel, a large number of people in the population have permits that allow them to use medical marijuana for a growing number of diseases including epilepsy and cancer. Still, the number is expected to continue to grow as the medicinal uses are further considered and understood. Especially as clinical trials start to become more commonplace and specialists continue to look into the benefits of the drug.
Raphael Mechoulam is one of those specialists. A professor of medicinal chemistry, he was the first to begin researching the components of the drug, utilizing the seized marijuana over 50 years ago. He began researching the parts of the brain that interact with marijuana and even began consulting with the Ministry of Health and even additional research groups in different parts of the world.
It is likely because of Professor Mechoulam that research has continued throughout the country and that, currently, clinical trials exist for its use. There are even medical marijuana conferences taking place within the country and research into a marijuana inhaler that makes delivering proper doses more effective and much simpler at the same time.
For Israel, the research and the advancement of the industry could mean a number of very great things, and it could mean that the country is setting itself up for a future where it will not only be a source of marijuana for medicinal use, but a hub for research and development.
Though some are concerned that the exportation of marijuana from Israel will cause the country to become known as a drug and arms dealer, there are many more who believe that this could be the key to improving the economy of the country, and making it a power throughout the world.