In the world of vegetation and greenery, there is one plant that has so many stigmas, that has been so much criminalized thus we can’t talk about it without enduring agreed smiles or harsh condemnations as if we were talking about hard dope. You name it… Cannabis!
The cannabis has this specific faculty to make people either laugh for the ones who like smoking pots or make them scared / angry / despising for those who will consider you as a junkie.
And what if we see it with a good eye (Ayin Hatov in Hebrew)?
Cause after all, the cannabis which belongs to the hemp family, was used for millenaries in various activities. From handcrafted ropes to textile, paper and medicinal remedies, the plant delivered throughout ancient civilizations till modern times its phenomenal properties so that cannabis was a common medical drug until the 40’s.
I will not come back to why and how cannabis has been criminalized over the last decades. But the fact is that it’s been getting back its letters of nobility for the last 15 years. The weed has been studied by renowned researchers, trying to understand the composition of the psychoactive and psychotropic agents that enable not only to relax people but also to sooth huge pains. And guess what?
Israel is in the game and even a key player since an early stage.
Let’s go back to the 60’s, at the Weizmann Institute, when Professor Raphael Mechoulam entered the History by discovering and isolating the THC and CBD, the main psychoactive compounds of cannabis. He literally built the foundations of what is today medical cannabis research. And then it was the beginning of a series of studies and researches that led to understand the effects of cannabis on human beings and how it works on our brain.
Following these researches, several clinical trials have been pursued recognizing the outstanding benefits of cannabis on several severe illnesses and pains (epilepsy, autism, PTSD, cancer, Parkinson…).
Just to give you an example related by Pr. Mechoulam himself in the documentary The Scientist. Already in 1995, cannabis has been tested on children with cancer in one of the Jerusalem’s hospitals, to counter the side effects of chemotherapy treatments : vomiting, nausea and loss of appetite. With the head of pediatric oncology department, they did a clinical trial on children and gave to half the kids THC in oily drops and to the other half just olive oil. After just one week the benefits of THC were so obvious on lowering the side effects that they decided to stop the placebo and pursue the trial with the whole group. They gave small amount of THC to all kids involved in the study. At the end of it, they observed a complete stop of vomiting and nausea. And that’s only one example of therapeutic effects.
In a world where legalization and decriminalization are gaining ground in more and more countries what does Israel has to do with cannabis?
It is important to mention that in Israel, according to the “Dangerous drugs ordinance” of 1973, cannabis is prohibited. However, in this country of paradoxes, Israel has been one of the first countries to medicalize cannabis and use it to heal thousands of patients.
In order to abide by the 1973 ordinance and in the same time legitimize medical cannabis, Israel has set up a medical cannabis agency (IMCA), affiliate to the Ministry of Health, and built strong standards known as good practices in all cannabis business areas.
From cultivation to production and supply, from academia to medical applications and research, from regulation to investment, this a whole industry that has been organized to frame and secure every single activity around medical cannabis.
A new era is on its way. In Israel all the medical cannabis ecosystem is in effervescence, with a regulation process set up, thriving startups, business incubators, city wide partnership (Yeruham is the willing to become a world center for medical cannabis)…
The cannabis industry is booming and especially in the R&D field, where Israel takes a role leader.
In other words, with Ayin Hatov, let’s make cannabis the medicine of the 21st century. Let’s make cannabis great again!