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News (Media Awareness Project) - Israel: Future Of Medical Marijuana In Israel Up For Gov't
Title:Israel: Future Of Medical Marijuana In Israel Up For Gov't
Published On:2011-07-15
Source:Jerusalem Post (Israel)
Fetched On:2011-07-16 06:01:18

Government expected to decide on establishing a state agency which
will be responsible for authorizing, processing requests for medical cannabis.

In two weeks, the government will decide whether to establish a state
agency responsible for the authorization and processing of requests
for medical marijuana for relieving patients with pain that responds
to no other treatment.

At a conference on Wednesday at Hadassah-University Hospital, Ein
Kerem, Dr. Yehuda Baruch, a psychiatrist at the Abarbanel Mental
Health Center in Bat Yam who has in the last two years
single-handedly been responsible for the matter, predicted the number
of authorizations could reach 40,000 in five years.

Currently, only 6,000 patients a year request and receive medical marijuana.

The event was attended by Health Ministry officials, doctors and
Hebrew University's Prof. Raphael Mechoullam, the researcher who
discovered the structure of the active ingredient in cannabis that
relieves chronic pain.

There is debate in the government over whether to allow local,
supervised growers to continue growing it or to import high-quality marijuana.

The process must be strictly supervised to prevent marijuana from
"leaking out" to drug users who have not been authorized to use it.

Most of the patients suffer from cancer, multiple sclerosis and other
diseases involving serious chronic pain.

Prof. Elyad Davidson, head of Hadassah's pain unit, said clinical
studies have shown long-term side effects from medical cannabis-use
are controversial and not clear.

Among the possible effects are addiction, psychosis and "gradiating"
to more serious drugs. It is still not known, said Davidson, whether
new forms of taking medical cannabis, including in the form of oil
and cookies -- are as effective as conventional means, such as smoking it.
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