Updated on January 30, 2019.
Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
Medical marijuana is known for helping patients who are suffering from certain medical conditions, not only in Israel but across the globe. The Government of Israel recently released a resolution concerning medical cannabis products, access to care for patients who qualify and supply of marijuana products.
Israel certified 100 new doctors for assisting to expedite marijuana licensing, moving Israel into a position as a pioneer on the global weed scene. These recent developments should make the country’s medical marijuana program more accessible to all the patients across the country.
Israel Optimizes Medical Marijuana
In June, Israel officially certified 100 new doctors to participate in the medical marijuana program. Before this, there was only one doctor in the country who had the authority to offer patients medical marijuana based on their medical conditions. That doctor, Dr. Michael Dor, is the deputy director of Israel’s Medical Cannabis department.
Dr. Dor will now be accompanied by 100 new doctors in issuing licenses for medical cannabis use. With several new physicians giving medical marijuana prescriptions, the whole process of getting medicines should become easier for patients across the country suffering from debilitating conditions.
Getting medical marijuana in Israel used to be a complex process that began with patients being referred to a special clinic where one doctor had the authority to recommend medical marijuana treatment. That recommendation was then sent to the country’s health ministry for approval. If the approval was granted, it would go to Dr. Or for his signature.
Every patient was required to get Dr. Or’s signature before buying medical cannabis products. Since it hinged on one doctor’s final approval, sometimes this process could take more than a year before patients could get the medicine they needed.
There was a way to fast-track a medical marijuana recommendation under the old system in Israel. For an extra 1500 NIS (nearly $400 in the U.S.) a patient could get medical cannabis from a private clinic.
Now, the process of obtaining medical marijuana in Israel is streamlined. Each of the newly certified doctors will be able to recommend medical marijuana treatment to patients suffering from debilitating conditions. The cannabis recommendations will no longer need to go through one doctor for the entire country.
Becoming an Industry Leader
Israel has been known as a pioneer in the medical cannabis industry for a while now. The country invested a good amount of resources into the research and development of weed. That research brought a lot of cannabis innovation to light.
Now, Israel is working to make medical cannabis a little more accessible to all the patients suffering from debilitating conditions that can be helped with marijuana therapy. For the last year, patients haven’t had to see a specialist to get a medical cannabis recommendation.
Also, recommendations no longer have to be approved by the health ministry unit. Instead, the new doctors have the authority to prescribe marijuana directly to the patients. For that, patients need to pay a fixed amount as a fee — roughly 250 NIS. These changes will eliminate any economic disadvantage, making cannabis products equally accessible for all patients.
Israel: A Huge Exporter of Medical Cannabis
Israel will likely become a huge medical marijuana exporter considering the recent changes. The Israeli government believes there will be an improvement in the economic value for the country to export medical marijuana. They also expect to gain other benefits from their involvement in the medical marijuana industry and hope to grow the industry. Israeli marijuana production will be enhanced by continued research and development, clinical experience and better access for patients.
The Israeli government approves exporting marijuana for medical purposes to other countries, but they also have certain limitations. These limitations include requiring the health ministry to manage the process of exporting medical marijuana while being carefully observed by the state. Exports will only be allowed to nations that have medical marijuana usage programs and approve importation from Israel.
iCan Israel-Cannabis will work with eight start-up cannabis companies in the country to improve their success rates. The Israeli government sees the cannabis industry as the next big economic driver in Israel, like the iT industry. iCan is also organizing an international medical marijuana convention that will bring together 800 experts in the cannabis field from 35 different countries.
The Israeli marijuana industry has global connections, including many in North America. The U.S. and Canada may be among the first countries to import medical marijuana from Israel in this recent initiative funded by the Israeli government.
Greater access to medical cannabis for Israeli patients represents progress for all patients around the world. As a global leader in marijuana research and development, Israel should serve as a model for other medical marijuana programs, as well. Access to medical grade marijuana products will increase for everyone as a result of Israel’s latest efforts to improve quality and access.
To learn more about medical marijuana programs around the world, across the country and in your community, you can turn to MarijuanaDoctors.com. If you’re suffering from a debilitating condition, we can also help you find a marijuana doctor near you — they’ll be able to tell you if you qualify for the medical cannabis treatment you need in your state.