In a major milestone, Israel’s Health Minister, Yaakov Litzman announced towards the end of last month that Israel would begin allowing medical marijuana in pharmacies as a response to the growing demand for the drug as a medical alternative to traditional pharmaceuticals.
This marks the first time that Israeli health officials will allow the medicine to be accessible in actual pharmacies alongside other commonly prescribed drugs; a move that would be unheard of in the states under the current Big Pharma monopoly.
Within this new system, Israel’s estimated 13,000 medical marijuana patients suffering from ailments ranging from chronic pain to cancer, will be able to obtain clearance and medical licenses for cannabis use, in the same manner that they would for opiate derived medicines.
“It will be prescribed and monitored by the same standards as other medications,” said Israel’s Health Minister to the Times of Israel.
Israel isn’t a newbie when it comes to medical marijuana progressiveness. Despite seemingly increasing tensions in the region as well as recent sanctions placed on the Jewish State from the international community following a past conflict involving Palestine, Israel has maintained a steady course of researching and developing the medicinal properties of cannabis as a viable medical solution.
The Father of Medical Cannabis Research
For the past 40 years, the small yet powerful country backed heavily by U.S. investment, has been a forerunner in cannabis research and development. One doctor in particular, by the name of Dr. Mechoulam
is responsible for discovering not only cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabidiol (THC) molecules, but also the entire endocannabinoid system.
By his careful study of Lebanese hash conducted in the 1960’s through a police connection, Mechoulam was able to pinpoint the main compounds found in cannabis responsible for having the most medicinal value.
About 20 years after discovering these medical properties, Mechoulam mapped out the entire endocannabinoid system, responsible for memory, appetite, pain, and mood.
Mechoulam’s early research also extends to his study of CBD extracts in relation to combating seizures, epilepsy, and other neurological-disorders.
Supported by the National Institute of Health, Dr. Mechoulam’s early studies “started the great wave of cannabis research” and he is considered by many in the medical field as the Father of medical marijuana research
Leaders in Medical Marijuana Vaporizer Development
In a June press release from this year, Tikun Olam, Isreal’s largest government-licensed medical marijuana producer, announced that it would be partnering with New York State’s Compassionate Care Center of New York (CCCNY) in an effort to develop New York's developing medical marijuana program. Although the company was not outwardly given a license during the recent administering of medical marijuana licenses for the state, the partnership signals a shift in American attitudes towards the overall study and administering of the drug as a legitimate alternative medicine.
Back in 2009, Guy Kurgan, a bud tender at one of Tikun Olam’s eight licensed medical marijuana farms within the State of Israel, needed a way to administer cannabis relief to his patients, without exposing them to the harshness of combustion based smoking methods.
After careful research, Kurgan discovered that marijuana vaporizers such as the Volcano Vaporizer
can produce medical vapors that are up to 95% pure, allowing much needed relief for patients without the harmful toxins associated with smoke.
Alongside his brother Roi Kurgan, the duo jumped over one bureaucratic hurdle after the other, until finally convincing the Israeli Ministry of Health as well as the manufacturers of the Volcano, the Storz & Bickel company, to develop their own version of marijuana vaporizers meant exclusively for medical marijuana patients, known as the Volcano Medic
Currently, the Volcano Medic is the only marijuana vaporizer of its kind to be approved as a medical instrument used for the administration of marijuana in the State of Israel, showing the progress that can be made when government and private industries combine forces to put real action behind marijuana research.
The World's First Medical Marijuana Inhaler for the Treatment of Chronic Pain
Due to paid lobbyists of big pharma, propaganda, and continued resistance from the United States Federal Government, medical marijuana continues to be take a backseat to the needs of the people especially in regards to pain.
In comparison, Israel has led the way in research involving the study of whole plant cannabis specifically in it's relation to neuropathic pain.
In a 2014 Isreali study conducted on patients suffering from incurable pain, findings indicated " a significant 45% reduction in pain intensity "20 minutes after patients inhaled the drug using a Syqe inhaler.
Known as a breakthrough in the medical marijuana industry, Syque inhalers have headlined news outlets in Israel as the first medical device of it's kind, offering patients " a delivery system for medical cannabis that is effective, stable, safe, and easy to use."
Created using a 3D printer, the Syqe inhaler and studies associated with it add to the medical authority already established by Israel, as they enter a new era of medical marijuana discovery.
If America is taking notes at all regarding Israel's list of achievements in the growing field of medical marijuana, it should underline their ability to make medical marijuana acceptable in the eyes of the people, government, the insurance industry, and medical officials; a skill that has proved most useful for a country that's leading the way towards a green future.