01.25.2017
policy

Unlike Other Countries, in Israel, the Government Finances Marijuana Studies

Finally, someone is leading the charge.

Israel has been on the trail of the medical benefits of cannabis since Professor Raphael Mechoulam of Hebrew University was the first to identify weed's psychoactive agent, THC, in 1964. Not resting on its pot laurels, last year the Israeli government approved a plan to relax medical cannabis requirements, allowing easier access to weed for patients and imposing fewer restrictions for growers.

And now, Israel’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has decided, willingly, to put up $2.1 million for scientists to research cannabis' healing properties and advanced cultivation methods.

From The Times of Israel:

Thirteen projects have been chosen, the ministry said, among which are the identification of new strains of cannabis; the use of cannabis to improve vision, fight intestinal cancer and boost the body’s acceptance of transplanted organs; the improvement of watering and fertilizing of the cannabis plant; and the development of ways to combat cannabis plant diseases and pests.

The worldwide medical cannabis market is forecast to be worth almost $20 billion in the next ten years, and an estimated 1 percent of the world’s population could start smoking medicinal weed. So, what's the big surprise that Israel is putting money behind a potentially life-changing and money-making endeavor? It's an obvious win-win, right?

Image via VSCO

But America’s had a different take.

While plenty of top-tier scientific research centers are located in this country (including a medical-weed specific facility in San Diego, California), marijuana research in the United States receives little-to-no federal financial support. Without in-depth research, there will be no conclusive evidence (good or bad) about marijuana’s power to ease lives. Instead, a lot of back-and-forth claims show that funding and harnessed resources are necessary to perform proper, conclusive research. Without government sanctioned and sponsored science, there may never be solid answers to the questions surrounding weed's medicinal value.

'I know this sounds crazy, but I believe cannabis will disrupt healthcare. This is the new healthcare.'

Doctors worldwide agree that cannabis might be part of a greater healing puzzle, even for deadly diseases like cancer. Without the money to test these theories, the United States science community is at a halt.

"I know this sounds crazy, but I believe cannabis will disrupt healthcare. This is the new healthcare," neuroscientist Michelle Ross, MD, PhD, said at 2016 Cannabis Science Conference.

So uh, if we are racing to cure cancer (and a whole list of other maladies), there’s still a lot of work to be done. And perhaps, if weed is a piece of the puzzle, Israel might get there a whole lot sooner than the U.S. Or anyone.

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