Medical Marijuana Likely Coming Soon to Israeli Pharmacies

November 8, 2010 – The Israeli Health Ministry committee on medical marijuana recommended last Wednesday that marijuana be added the list of medicinal drugs. That means it should be available in pharmacies in Israel within six months, provided that the recommendation is accepted by the ministry.

The news was reported Sunday by the International Association for Cannabis as Medicine, which in turn cited a Thursday newsletter from the Israeli embassy in Germany. (That letter, in German, is available at this Israeli diplomatic service web page. Click on the link for November 4.)

Medical marijuana committee head and, until recently, the sole authorized medical marijuana prescriber in Israel, Dr. Yehuda Baruch, made the recommendation. The next step is to form an inter-ministerial committee to resolve open questions.

Baruch said medical marijuana is helpful for multiple sclerosis, patients undergoing chemotherapy for cancer, and for the relief of chronic pain.

The announcement is just the latest step in medical marijuana’s march to acceptance in Israel. Up until September, only Dr. Baruch had been authorized to prescribe medical marijuana. But the health ministry announced that month that five more doctors will be allowed to prescribe.

The number of Israelis who have been prescribed marijuana was two in 2000, 10 in 2005, 700 in the middle of last year, and may be as high as 2,000 now. A Health Ministry official estimated that, with the lessening of the prescribing bottleneck, the number could increase to 5,000 by year’s end and tens of thousands in the future. Source.

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