|IRXMJ.org says it supports Israel’s sick, ill and dying with free medical marijuana.|
The Israeli Health Ministry’s committee on medical cannabis recommended last Wednesday the addition of marijuana to the official list of medicinal drugs. That means it should be available in Israeli pharmacies within six months, if the Health Ministry accepts the recommendation, reports Phillip Smith at StoptheDrugWar.org.
The news was reported Sunday by the International Association for Cannabis as Medicine, which cited a Thursday newsletter from the Israeli embassy in Germany.
Dr. Yehuda Baruch, who heads up the medical marijuana committee, made the recommendation. Baruch said medical cannabis is helpful for multiple sclerosis, patients undergoing chemotherapy for cancer, and for the relief of chronic pain.
|Photo: Russia Today|
|Israel has the first medical marijuana program in the Middle East.|
Until recently, Dr. Baruch was the only physician in Israel authorized to write medical marijuana prescriptions. But in another sign of loosening restrictions on medical cannabis, the Israeli Health Ministry announced in September that five more doctors will now be allowed to prescribe marijuana.
Only two Israeli citizens had marijuana prescriptions in 2000. The number had grown to only 10 by 2005, but it reached 700 around the middle of 2009. There could be as many as 2,000 medical marijuana patients now, according to estimates.
That number could increase to 5,000 by year’s end, with tens of thousands more in the future, according to one Health Ministry official, with the loosening of the marijuana prescription bottleneck.
The next step is to form an inter-minsterial committee to resolve open questions about the inclusion of marijuana on the list of medicinal drugs.
Israel’s supply of medicinal cannabis is grown by three licensed national growers, according to irxmj.org.