How Israel Became a World Leader in Medical Marijuana

Israel Medical Marijuana Plant

Of all the places in the world associated with medical marijuana, Israel doesn’t make most people’s top ten list. While marijuana has been decriminalized in the Netherlands for decades, and cannabis is approved for medial use in 18 US states, Israel has quietly become a world leader in treating illness and managing pain with marijuana.

The history of cannabis in Israel goes back to 1964 when Dr. Raphael Mechoulam helped to isolate THC, the active compound responsible for the psychoactive effects of marijuana.

While possessing and selling marijuana is not legal in Israel, the Israel Ministry of Health approves special permits that allow approved patients to access medical marijuana from approved dispensaries. With this programs success, legislative changes may be in the works after the 2013 general election to expand this program.

The New York Times published a revealing expose on how medical marijuana is a growing field in Israel. According to the Times "Israeli researchers say cannabis can be beneficial for a variety of illnesses and conditions, from helping cancer patients relieve pain and ease loss of appetite to improving the quality of life for people with post-traumatic stress disorder and neuropsychological conditions. The natural ingredients in the plant, they say, can help with digestive function, infections and recovery after a heart attack."

Over the past year Israel has received a warm media reception for its work in research related to medical marijuana. Even Al-Jazeera got on the bandwagon with this inspiring report about how medical marijuana greatly improved the life of an Israeli car accident victim.