Israel’s Health Minister, Yaakov Litzman, has said it may only be six months before GP’s in the country will be permitted to prescribe medical marijuana.
According to The Times Of Israel, the ultra-orthodox minister is leading reform on medical cannabis in the country.
“Patients should be able to receive the cannabis in a dignified way, without waiting or having to run around,” said Minister Litzman.
YNetNews reports a Health Ministry plan published for public comment also proposes to open up the medical marijuana market to new cultivators and retailers; including pharmacies.
Currently there are just eight cannabis farms in Israel – the new plan would see no limits placed on the number of growers.
Medical marijuana is accessible in Israel, but gaining permission to use it is bogged down with red tape.
A doctor specializing in the field dealing with the patient’s condition must submit an application to the Health Ministry. According to Haaretz, there are only a few dozen practitioners in Israel who are authorized to recommend patients to receive a permit.
The entire process, from referral to consultation to application and permission can take months – then the permit must be renewed every few months.
Even so, there is certainly significant demand for medicines already, with around 23,000 recipients of medical cannabis in Israel.
While medicinal cannabis is strictly controlled in the country, the general attitude towards it at a professional level is very different to that in some other nations.
Israel is a global leader in medical cannabis research. In the country’s medical research sector, cannabis is just considered another potentially useful source of beneficial drugs – without the prejudice often found in other arenas.
According to Nature, the modern era of cannabis research started in Israel. In 1964, chemist Raphael Mechoulam isolated THC (tetrahydrocannabinol – the psychoactive cannabinoid).
Medical marijuana has strong support among the general population too, with around 75% of Israelis backing its medicinal use. Even religiously speaking, it is accepted. Nearly three years ago, the Orthodox rabbi Efraim Zalmanovich ruled that medical cannabis was kosher.
On a related topic, we recently reported a company in New York recently announced its medical cannabis products have been certified kosher by the world’s largest kosher certification agency.