Treating kids and elderly with cannabis in Israel

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Treating kids and elderly with cannabis in Israel
Tuesday, 29 Apr 2014 | 11:00 AM ET

Twenty years ago, Israeli scientist Raphael Mechoulam was the first to discover that giving cannabis oil to kids with cancer resulted in easing their physical and emotional pain. Israel now allows children and adults to consume cannabis in medical institutions; including in government-run hospitals and

Yaniv Eshed has a 9 year old son, Aviel. He is being treated for bone marrow cancer at Sheba Medical Center, the largest hospital in Israel. Yaniv Eshed was told of the benefits by other parents at the hospital he wishes he had learned about medical marijuana before Aviel was already six months into his chemotherapy treatment. “I was not aware like I am aware now,” Eshed says “If someone told me at the beginning that there was this option of cannabis, I think I could have saved him a lot of months of pain.” Medical cannabis has been gaining ground as a valid therapy. It offers relief to children suffering with cancer, it has been confirmed to soothe severe pain, increase the appetite, stop vomiting and ease insomnia where other common medications do not.

Twenty years ago, Raphael Mechoulam an Israeli scientist was the first to discover that giving cannabis oil to kids with cancer resulted in easing their physical and emotional pain. Israel now allows cannabis treatment to children and adults in medical institutions, this includes government-run hospitals and nursing homes. Medical marijuana is estimated to be a $40 million industry in Israel. Research in Israel has assisted America’s own medical marijuana business, which just this year is expected to be worth more than $2 billion. Doctors in the United States and all over the world continue to questions the efficiency of medical marijuana but time and time again we are getting positive feedback when it had been used. In the U.S. medical marijuana legality is determined on the state level but it’s legal nationally in Israel. Israel’s largest medical cannabis supplier is a company called Tikun Olam and was started by businessman Tsachi Cohen in 2006 as a charitable, private company aimed at delivering marijuana to sick patients for free. Cohen received the first license to grow marijuana from the Israeli Ministry of Health in 2007.

After the initial success with Israeli hospitals, the company is now appealing to Israeli, Palestinian, and international organizations in an effort to bring medical marijuana to sick children who receive medical care not only within Israel, but under the Palestinian Authority as well. Unlike in Israel, medical marijuana is frowned upon as medicine in Palestine. “Currently, we have a qualified Arab-Israeli male nurse that is fluent in Arabic, and we are also treating a number of Palestinian children from Ramallah and Gaza that have cancer and are hospitalized in Israeli hospitals,” says Eran Rise, spokesman for Tikun Olam.

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