October 1, 2010

Israel's Medical Marijuana - Stoner Information

For Californians, Americans, and even British citizens it can be hard to keep in mind that marijuana really is a global issue. Countries all over the world are trying to find a way to fit it back into their society. Israel is one of the most active in this pursuit as well as one of the most overlooked. But they love the dank stuff too.
- Baked Life

This country could become not only one of the few countries manufacturing marijuana-based medicines but also a key world pioneer in the field.

The standard image of cannabis is twofold. First is the one presented in the West’s films and pop subculture. Cannabis, also known as marijuana and “grass,” has been famous for centuries as a psychoactive, dreamy substance which, at the same time, is illegal in most countries and attracts a penalty if the user is caught.

The second attitude is one of recreational use in places like the Netherlands, where cannabis is openly ingested in the infamous cafes, with a denial that it is any more harmful than alcohol.

INNOVATIVE ISRAEL has taken a third path and put the nefarious weed into its proper place by recognizing it as medicine. And like all medicine, it has the potential for misuse. In any case, the use of cannabis derivatives as medicine is causing a small, silent revolution among hippies, squares and Dutch cafe users alike.

What is apparent, from much of the recent research, is that Cannabis sativa (the plant) has many properties that, administered correctly, offer a multitude of remedial benefits. In taking this forward, Israel is placing itself leaps ahead of worldwide competition, both scientifically now and commercially in the future.

Israel is one of the first countries to have permitted the use of medical marijuana. Tel Aviv’s cannabis clinics have been open for some time on an experimental basis, with government support.

The photos on the left and right are from "Marijuana Day" in Tel Aviv, Israel on May 8th. From Life.com

They offer treatment for cancer, multiple sclerosis, HIV, colitis and other ailments. Recently too, Israel’s first-ever hospital to offer cannabis as a treatment, Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer, started its pilot program. There patients obtain the necessary government permit, according to a strict protocol that the hospital developed, and then are provided with cannabis.

Soon smoking will be replaced with machines which vaporize the marijuana compound so they can inhale it with steam.

Cannabis for medical purposes is supplied by a Health Ministry approved, charitable company in Safed called Tikkun Olam, aptly named after the kabbalistic concept of restoring the world. Bags of neatly wrapped cannabis cigarettes from the company are distributed to licensed patients from various locations. The process is carefully controlled and monitored by the government under the watchful eye of Dr. Yehuda Baruch, director-general of Abarbanel Mental Health Center.

Medical cannabis guru Prof. Raphael Mechoulam of Hebrew University in Jerusalem famously pioneered research in 1964 to isolate tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main active ingredient in cannabis, which he was able to synthesize.

In 1993, he and his research team discovered another compound called anandamide, which occurs naturally in the brain and acts in a similar way to THC. Recent research has found this to link to neonatal appetite stimulation in the womb.

Now Mechoulam uses cannabis provided by the police to create different chemical compounds that may be useful in treatment.

The benefits of cannabis as medicine lie in reducing pain, increasing appetite, modulating mood and various positive effects on the nervous system, as identified with sufferers of multiple sclerosis.

The uses are wide and the potential benefit is huge, but what are the risks? THE CASE against cannabis is wholly based on harm-related research and legality. The first, most obvious, risk is crime. Security on cannabis clinics is high (no pun intended). Recently, reports suggested that there was a “cannabis drought” in the Middle East. When illegal cannabis does arrive in Israel, most of it is courtesy of Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan.

The likely consequence, if there is indeed a drought, is a growing black market. The potential for sale of medical cannabis in such a market might prove too tempting for some. Criminal raids on legitimate cannabis providers may become an issue. Misuse and addiction are other issues. Usually, cannabis treatments are given in low doses to those with a significant health problem where other treatments may no longer be effective. Whatever happens, these factors will require careful monitoring.

Read the Whole Article by John Chacksfield: http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Columnists/Article.aspx?id=189638


I removed the a paragraph from the article because it harbored inaccurate and seemingly malicious generalizations. It implied that one of the "two main types" of smokers is a childish, rebel-without-a-cause; that's stupid. They may exist but not as a majority. Mr. Chacksfield should be more careful when translating his opinion to fact. - Baked Life

Contact: Bakedlife@gmail.com

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