Archive for the ‘Israel’ category

Study: Inhaled Cannabis Mitigates Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms

March 17th, 2014

Inhaling whole-plant cannabis provides symptomatic relief in patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD), according to observational trial data published in the March/April edition of the journal Clinical Neuropharmacology. Parkinson’s is a progressive disorder of the central nervous system that results in tremor, slowed movement, and muscle rigidity.

Investigators at Tel Aviv University, Department of Neurology evaluated Parkinson’s disease symptoms in 22 patients at baseline and 30-minutes after inhaling cannabis.

Researchers reported that inhaled cannabis was associated with “significant improvement after treatment in tremor, rigidity, and bradykinsea (slowness of movement). There was also significant improvement of sleep and pain scores. No significant adverse effects of the drug were observed.”

They concluded: “[T]his observational study is the first to report an amelioration of both motor and non–motor symptoms in patients with PD treated with cannabis. The study opens new venues for treatment strategies in PD especially in patients refractory to current medications.”

Israel has formally allowed for the licensed production and distribution of the substance for therapeutic purposes since 2011.

An abstract of the study, “Cannabis (Medical Marijuana) Treatment for Motor and Non–Motor Symptoms of Parkinson Disease: An Open-Label Observational Study,” is online here.

Study: Inhaled Cannabis Reduces Crohn’s Symptoms

May 13th, 2013

Inhaling cannabis reduces symptoms of Crohn’s disease compared to placebo in patients non-responsive to traditional therapies, according to clinical trial data published online ahead of print in the journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Researchers at the Meir Medical Center, Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology in Israel assessed the safety and efficacy of inhaled cannabis versus placebo in 21 subjects with Crohn’s disease who were nonresponsive to conventional treatments.

Eleven participants smoked standardized cannabis cigarettes containing 23 percent THC and 0.5 percent CBD (cannabidiol) twice daily over a period of eight weeks. The other ten subjects smoked placebo cigarettes containing no active cannabinoids.

Investigators reported, “Our data show that 8-weeks treatment with THC-rich cannabis, but not placebo, was associated with a significant decrease of 100 points in CDAI (Crohn’s Disease and activity index) scores.” (The CDIA is a research tool used to quantify the symptoms of Crohn’s disease patients.) Five of the eleven patients in the study group also reported achieving disease remission (defined as a reduction in patient CDAI score by more than 150 points).

Researchers also reported that “no significant side effects” were associated with cannabis inhalation. Subjects in the study group reported improvements in appetite and sleep compared to those in the placebo group. Cannabis inhalation was also associated with “significantly less pain” among the participants.

The study is the first placebo-controlled clinical trial to assess the consumption of cannabis for the treatment of Crohn’s.

Israeli researchers had previously published observational trial data reporting that Crohn’s patients require fewer disease-related surgeries following their use of cannabis.

According to survey data published in 2011 in the European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, some one-half of Crohn’s disease patients acknowledge having used cannabis to mitigate their disease symptoms.

Human Marijuana Trials Moving Forward to Determine Medical Benefits

April 9th, 2013

Thousands of medical marijuana patients in the United States rely on the drug to alleviate a multitude of symptoms from cachexia to nerve pain; nevertheless, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) still considers it a Schedule I controlled substance that has no accepted medical use.

Despite this law-enforcement-agency-approved “analysis,” doctors are conducting their own research. In Israel, the Meir Medical Center is recruiting Crohn’s Disease sufferers for a study on the ability of marijuana to treat the inflammatory bowel disease, which affects 400,000-600,000 North Americans.

In San Francisco, for more than five years, doctors at California Pacific Medical Center have been studying the effects of the marijuana compound cannabidiol (CBD) on metastatic cancer cells (i.e., very aggressive tumor cells).  In their recently published large-scale animal trial, brain scans revealed the disruption of tumor cells after CBD was used to switch off a specific gene regulator.

These promising results left researchers optimistic and they believe that the findings warrant human trials. They will work to secure funding in the upcoming months for two trial groups, one for brain cancer and the other for breast cancer.

Will these and other studies finally convince our government that science, not myth, should dictate how we approach marijuana?

Medical Marijuana Now Available in Czech Pharmacies

April 3rd, 2013

On Tuesday, in pharmacies across the Czech Republic, medical marijuana was made available to patients suffering from cancer, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, or psoriasis. Marijuana is available by prescription only, and must be imported from the Netherlands or Israel since a cultivation program is not yet included in the law.

The Czech Senate overwhelmingly voted in favor of a medical marijuana bill earlier this year, andLekarna President Vaclav Klaus signed the bill into law on February 15.

The law does not mandate that medical marijuana be covered by health insurance nor does it allow for home cultivation by patients. Regardless, the country has some of the most lenient marijuana laws in Europe. Possession of five or less plants is merely a misdemeanor, and fines for possession of 15 grams or less are on par with parking citations.

Estimate: Worldwide Population Of Lawful Medical Marijuana Patients

April 11th, 2012

From the International Association for Cannabinoid Medicines
IACM-Bulletin of 8 April 2012

World: Increasing numbers of patients use cannabis for medicinal purposes

An increasing number of patients in the world are using cannabis for therapeutic reasons, with available data from countries, which have installed programs for their citizens. Good data are available for Israel, Canada, the Netherlands and many states of the US with medicinal cannabis laws and registries. In several more countries only a few patients are allowed to use cannabis for medicinal purposes, including Germany, Norway, Finland and Italy. In many other countries such as Spain and some states of the US without a registry such as California the number of medicinal users is estimated to be high, but no detailed data are available.

The numbers in California with hundreds of cannabis dispensaries and clinics that issue medical cannabis recommendations are unclear, since the state does not require residents to register as patients (see below**)
Most of the 16 states that allow the medicinal use of cannabis require a registration. Recently the press agency Associated Press published data on registered patients in different states of the USA based on state agencies responsible for maintaining patient registries:

State: Number of registered patients (per 1,000 of the whole population) –
Colorado: 82,089 (16.3)
Oregon: 57,386 (15.0)
Montana: 14,364 (14.5)
Michigan: 131,483 (13.3)
Hawaii: 11,695 (8.6)
Rhode Island: 4,466 (4.2)
Arizona: 22,037 (3.5)
New Mexico: 4,310 (2.1)
Maine: 2,708 (2.0)
Nevada: 3,388 (1.3)
Vermont: 505 (0.8)
Alaska: 538 (0.8)
Patient registration is mandatory in Delaware, New Jersey and the District of Columbia (Washington D.C.), but their registries are not yet up and running. Washington State has neither voluntary nor mandatory registration.

Data from Israel show that in August 2011 6,000 patients got medicinal cannabis (0.8 patients in 1,000). It is estimated that the number increases to 40,000 in 2016 (5.2 patients in 1,000 citizens).

In Canada 12,116 patients were allowed to use cannabis on 30 September 2011 (0.35 patients in 1,000 citizens).

Numbers of patients using cannabis from the pharmacies in the Netherlands were estimated to be 1,300 in 2010 (0.08 patients in 1,000 citizens). However, many patients in the Netherlands use cannabis from the coffee shops or grow their own.

In Germany about 60 patients are currently allowed to use cannabis for medicinal purposes.

(Sources: Associated Press of 24 March 2012, website of the Israeli Prime Minister of 7 August 2011, UPI of 31 October 2011, Pharmaceutisch Weekblad No. 20, 2011)

**[Editor's note: CA NORML published a white paper last May estimating that California has 750,000 - 1,125,000 citizens who possess a physician's recommendation to use cannabis medicinally.]

Israeli Cannabis Activists Challenge Ban On Marijuana Rally

April 10th, 2012
Israeli cannabis activists have mounted their legal challenge to a police ban on a Marijuana Day rally, an annual event in which people publicly smoke the herb to protest its illegal status.The Israel Police notified the activists that any such rally in Tel Aviv, Israel's capital city, would not be tolerated, reports Yaakov Lappin at the Jerusalem Post. Law enforcement refused to authorize the event, claiming it constitutes a "blatant violation" of the law.The activists, represented by a group called Dor Emet (Truth Generation), placed a High Court appeal against the ban. Continue reading "Israeli Cannabis Activists Challenge Ban On Marijuana Rally" >

Israeli Medical Provider Offers Kosher Cannabis Cookies

April 5th, 2012
The graduate of a master class in pastry making has started a company registered with the Israeli Health Ministry and is now baking cannabis cookies for about 350 patients -- and as of this week, they are kosher for Passover.Moshe Ichiya, a graduate of the Estella school's master class in pastry making, runs the company Cannabliss in a location he will describe only as being "in the center of the country," reports Mitch Ginsburg at the Times of Israel. Cannabliss is one of several companies registered with the Health Ministry and is the sole supplier of medicinal marijuana products to the Sharett Institute of Oncology at the Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center."You see their flyers around the ward," one recent patient said. Patients at Hadassah then call Ichiya. Continue reading "Israeli Medical Provider Offers Kosher Cannabis Cookies" >

Israel Loses 15 Tons Of Medical Marijuana A Year

March 7th, 2012
​Israel is a world leader in medical marijuana use, according to anesthesiologist and pain relief expert Dr. Bareket Schiff-Keren, who said as much in his testimony to the Knesset Committee on Drug Abuse on Tuesday. But there's a problem with the system: about 15 tons of medicinal cannabis are stolen each year, according to police records.Israel Police representative Eyal Zilberman told the committee that medical marijuana is being sold on the black market, and the fields to grow cannabis are not properly secured to prevent theft, reports Lahav Harkov at The Jerusalem Post. Continue reading "Israel Loses 15 Tons Of Medical Marijuana A Year" >

Cannabis Is “An Effective Treatment” For Cancer Patients, Israeli Study Concludes

February 1st, 2012

[Editor's note: This post is excerpted from this week's forthcoming NORML weekly media advisory. To have NORML's news alerts and legislative advisories delivered straight to your in-box, sign up here.]

Some two-thirds of Israeli cancer patients authorized to use cannabis report long-term, symptomatic improvement from the plant, according to clinical data presented in late January at a conference of the Israeli Oncologists Union and reported this week in several international media outlets.

Investigators at the Sheba Medical Center in Tel Aviv, in conjunction with the Israeli Cancer Association, assessed the efficacy of cannabis therapy over the course of one year in 264 patients with cancer. Israeli media reported the findings:

Some 61 percent of the respondents reported a significant improvement in their quality of life as a result of the medical marijuana, while 56 percent noted an improvement in their ability to manage pain. In general, 67 percent were in favor of the treatment, while 65 percent said they would recommend it to other patients.”

The study concluded that cannabis is an “effective” treatment for certain symptoms of the disease cancer and recommended, “The treatment should be offered to the patients in earlier stages of cancer.”

In the trial, the most common types of cancer for which medical marijuana was authorized was lung cancer (21 percent ), breast cancer (12 percent ) and pancreatic cancer (10 percent ).

The study focused primarily on the use of cannabis to relieve various symptoms of cancer or cancer treatment, such as pain and nausea, but did not evaluate whether marijuana therapy could potentially suppress the proliferation of the disease. In preclinical trials, various cannabinoids – including THC and CBD (cannabidiol) – have been shown to selectively target and eliminate malignant cells and cancerous tumors.

To date, some 6,000 Israelis possess government authorization to use cannabis therapeutically. Patients authorized by the federal program may either cultivate cannabis at home or they may obtain marijuana from one of the nation’s 12 licensed cannabis farms.

Last summer, the Israeli Health Ministry formally acknowledged the therapeutic utility of cannabis and announced newly amended guidelines to more effectively govern the state-sponsored production and distribution of medical marijuana. The Ministry estimates that as many as 40,000 patients will eventually have access to medicinal cannabis once the Israeli program is fully implemented.

NORML’s literature review of the anti-cancer properties of cannabis and cannabinoids is available here.

Israeli Study: More Doctors Should Recommend Cannabis To Cancer Patients

January 30th, 2012
​More than two-thirds of cancer patients who were prescribed medical marijuana to combat pain are satisfied with the treatment, according to a comprehensive new study from Israel.The study involved 264 cancer patients who were treated with medical marijuana for a full year, reports Dan Even at Haaretz. The research was conducted at Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, in conjunction with the Israeli Cancer Association.About 61 percent of the patients reported a significant improvement in their quality of life as a result of the medical marijuana, while 56 percent noting an improvement in their ability to manage pain. Two-third -- 67 percent -- were in favor of the treatment, and 65 percent said they would recommend it to other patients. Continue reading "Israeli Study: More Doctors Should Recommend Cannabis To Cancer Patients" >