Safed, Israel – Israel In Forefront Of Medical Marijuana Research

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    FILE - A worker tends to cannabis plants at a growing facility for the Tikun Olam company near the northern city of Safed, Israel August 31, 2010. Flash90Safed, Israel – Israel has become a leader in the research of marijuana for medicinal uses, but polices on exportation have allowed researchers to share only their knowledge globally, not the product.

    According to Michael Dor, the senior medical adviser in the Israeli Health Ministry’s cannabis unit, Israel’s agricultural leaders support the exportation of cannabis, while police, army and executive branch members are opposed to it, afraid of being known as exporters of weapons and marijuana, reports The Washington Post (http://wapo.st/16anfy8).

    But global interest is still on the rise. A Jaffa investors conference held by Israeli producers will be held on Thursday. The conference, called Canna Tech Israel, will feature Colorado doctor Alan Shackelford, who is the chief science officer for One World Cannbis. His patient, Charlotte Figi, has used a form medical marijuana called “Charlotte’s Web” to reduce her epileptic seizures. The dramatic reduction in her seizures has piqued interest from American doctors on the uses of marijuana as medicine.

    Israel is working on a particular form of marijuana to be used for children with epilepsy without the high. Named “Rafael,” for a healing angel called upon by Moses, is available in oral doses in Israel.

    Syqe Medical, another Israeli developer based in Tel Aviv, has developed a cannabis inhaler with the assistance of a $1 million state grant, and Australian medical cannabis project PhytoTech Medical announced a deal last with Yissum, the research development company of Jerusalem’s Hebrew University, to create specifically dosed pills for the pharmaceutical market.

    U.S. laws make clinical research difficult or entirely impossible, despite the fact that many states have legalized the use of medical and recreational marijuana; however, Israel began its research on cannabis 50 years ago, and studies its medicinal uses, although recreational use has not been legalized. Israel first approved medical cannabis 1992. In 2007, the Health Ministry implemented a medical cannabis program. Now 20,000 patients are allowed to use marijuana.

    Because the U.S. blocks clinical research of marijuana for medical use, Shackelford said he conducts his research in Israel.

    “I went to Israel because I was frustrated,” he said. “Israel is the one place in the world that combines the scientific expertise, world-class universities and scientists. It’s so exciting.”

    Information taken from The Washington Post

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