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Politics, Research

Israel: The Leading Nation in Cannabis Innovation and Research

Marcus Quoyeser

by Marcus Quoyeser

August 27, 2019 02:03 pm ET Estimated Read Time: 4 Minutes
Israel: The Leading Nation in Cannabis Innovation and Research

A name that is becoming more associated with the growing cannabis market is Israel. The nation is fast making progress—and making a name for itself—as a world leader in cannabis support.

Progressive & Innovative

For over fifty years, Israel has researched cannabis with an unmatched inquisitiveness.

In fact, a prominent Israeli chemist, Dr. Raphael Mechoulam (also called the father of cannabis research), was the first scientist to properly isolate and identify THC. To say that this accomplishment is important is putting it very lightly.

He is also a firm proponent of furthering CBD research, being one of the early researchers to dive into CBD himself. His 1980 study on CBD and its interaction with patients with epilepsy remain vital to this day, and his opinions are highly regarded as some of the most relevant in the cannabis research field.

Israel’s tolerance and understanding of the medical uses of cannabis led to these discoveries. And it continues to be progressive in that regard.

One Israeli company, Eybna, is gathering support for more medical testing in the hopes that it will lead to a clearer, fuller understanding of marijuana. The hope is that this understanding will open the doors to widespread medical application and legalization of cannabis. According to an interview given with the Jerusalem Post, Eybna believes that until physicians equate cannabis with medicinal use, progress will remain hindered.

The Ministry of Health continues to support innovation with a continued budget of 8 million shekels a year given towards cannabis research. Because of this, many international companies have relocated to Israel in order to conduct research and development. The number of United States companies now operating in Israel is over 50 and expected to climb.

Still, the outlook of recreational cannabis in Israel remains uncertain for now.

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Cannabis Legality 

In Israel, cannabis does remain illegal. However, it has been decriminalized since 1 April 2019, or at least partially so.

Under Israeli law, possession of up to 15 grams and home use is not enforced. Medical cannabis is legal in some instances. For example, the Israeli military has experimented with using THC to treat PTSD in soldiers.

In 2018, there were over 26,000 registered medical marijuana patients in Israel. The number is predicted to increase—especially as the benefits of medical cannabis are explored in depth.

Pharmacies now carry medical marijuana. That became common in April of 2018. If this pilot program proves successful, the future could very well include dispensaries. There are a few reasons why this would not go forward. Support appears to stretch across both sides of the political and proverbial aisle, and even Israel’s upper echelon of politics seems to support cannabis.

Sara Netanyahu, the wife of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, even proclaimed that “medical cannabis is something [patients] are blessed with…” before offering her support to wider use. She showed a strong understanding of the medical benefits of marijuana, a stance that is important from someone in her position.

Moving Forward

In the years to come, cannabis will find its place in the legal markets of many nations, including the United States, Germany, Canada, and others. Israel, however, will remain as a staunch supporter and innovator, a nation to look up to and model after.

Their progressive attitude toward cannabis is an example of how a nation should handle something as powerful as cannabis. This attitude screams understanding, respect, and compassion—something that many developed nations are lacking (in many areas).

As Israel continues their own adventures into medical cannabis, many other nations—and individuals—are becoming interested in what medical marijuana can do for them. If you’re one of those people and you live in one of the many states where cannabis is legal, reach out to Veriheal.

We all have pain, but there is no reason that we cannot choose our treatment. Don’t hesitate to seek treatment for yourself in the form of medical cannabis today.

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