Despite great scientific efforts to create a strain of medical marijuana that does not induce intoxication, the government of Israel is refusing to allow the substance to be exported. The growing demand for medical marijuana in the country itself has led many local entrepreneurs to pursue a growing license, but becoming an international supplier may not be in Israel’s future, the Washington Post reported.
Earlier this year, Australia-based PhytoTech, a medical cannabis firm, announced a partnership with Yissum Research Development Company, which manages the intellectual property of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Times of Israel confirmed. In an effort to find better delivery methods for medical marijuana, the two entities will collaborate in the production of new strains with varying levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the ingredient in marijuana associated with feeling “high,” and cannabidiol (CBD).
The scientific rationale behind the partnership involves developing safer, better controlled administration of medical marijuana. Currently, medical marijuana is either taken orally or, more commonly, smoked. Researchers argue that this method not only has secondary negative health effects, but may not ensure consistent dosing.
To combat these challenges, PhytoTech and Hebrew University are working to create oral capsules and a medical marijuana patch, both of which would ensure consistent dosage delivery if used as prescribed. Engineered strains of marijuana, particularly those with an ideal balance of THC and CBD, are gaining worldwide attention for their potential medical uses.
Thus far, scientists have connected cannabidiol administration to an improvement in symptoms of schizophrenia, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and heart disease, to name a few. One strain, Avidekel, created by an Israeli cannabis farmer, is being reviewed in the U.S. as it allegedly imparts the medical benefits of marijuana without the effect of intoxication due to its chemical formulation featuring low THC and high CBD levels.
Believed to be beneficial for many ailments, from cancer symptoms to the alleviation of chronic pain, medical marijuana remains controversial in many countries. Recently covered by the Inquisitr, an Australian father was imprisoned for administering cannabis oil to his 2-year old daughter, who suffers from late stage neuroblastoma. Despite his daughter’s rapid improvement in symptoms and appetite after receiving cannabis oil, the father remains jailed in Australia.
Israel’s officials appear to be split when it comes to the issue of exporting medical marijuana, as the agricultural sector is in favor of exporting the product, while police and the executive branch of government are strictly against it. While exporting medical marijuana may not be in the near future for Israel, the country continues to remain on the forefront of marijuana research.