Israel continues to be a leader in cannabis research and growing operations
On the outskirts of a quiet village in northern Israel, 50,000 plants of 230 varieties of cannabis grow at the country’s second-largest medical cannabis plantation, as the Jewish State continues to market its expertise in the hope of becoming a world hub in the field.
“For cannabis, we are in the promised land with a good climate, 300 days of sunshine each year and perfect levels of humidity,” said Tamir Gedo, head of BOL Pharma, a company authorized by the Israeli health ministry to grow and distribute medical cannabis.
The recreational use of cannabis is illegal in the Jewish state, but has been legal for the past 10 years for medical and theraputic use.
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem has just opened a cannabis research center joining 19 other teams from local academic institutions.
Last year, doctors recommended cannabis to about 25,000 patients who suffer from cancer, epilepsy, post-traumatic stress and degenerative diseases.
There is much more research to be done but research is advancing faster in Israel, where human clinical trials are allowed.
“With the support of the (health) ministry, which has always had a pioneering attitude to this issue, we have built up expertise in clinical trials and we can share it with companies in the United States and Europe,” said Gedo.
He cites initial results of trials on patients with Crohn’s disease, which is characterized by chronic inflammation of the intestine, diarrhea and recurrent abdominal pain.
In January, US tobacco giant Philip Morris invested $20 million into Israeli company Syke, which produces precision inhalers for medical cannabis.