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Israel’s Medical Cannabis Program: Reduced THC Levels (T10)

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Israel is known for being at the forefront of medical cannabis research and treatment. The country has a long history of using marijuana for medicinal purposes and has made significant advancements in developing new and innovative ways to use the plant for medical purposes. Recently, the Israeli Ministry of Health has made some changes to the medical cannabis program that will impact new patients.

THC Reduction in Israel’s Medical Cannabis Program: What Patients Need to Know.

One of the main changes to Israel’s medical cannabis program involves reducing the THC levels for new patients. Delta-9 THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the main psychoactive component of marijuana and is responsible for the “high” feeling associated with its use. The Ministry of Health has decided to reduce the amount of THC available to new patients (defined as those receiving treatment for less than three months) to 10% or less. This is a significant decrease from the previous limit of 20%.

In addition, under the new changes to Israel’s medical cannabis program, new patients can only receive a maximum of 20 grams of dried cannabis flower (with a THC content of T10 or lower) or 30 grams of oil per month. This regulation is designed to restrict the use of stronger cannabis products among new patients, who are considered more vulnerable to the psychotropic effects of THC. However, as there is no formal research suppoering the reduction of THC for new patients, it might be that the aim of this reduction is not only to limit the potential side effects of the drug, but also to prevent the potential abuse of medical cannabis…

From what we understand today, this regulation is legally binding and cannot be overridden by a doctor, which means the system won’t allow the Doctor to prescribe flowers with T15 or T20 to new patients.

Another change to Israel’s medical cannabis program involves the process of obtaining medical cannabis. Previously, patients could only obtain medical cannabis through licensed growers and distributors. The new policy now allows patients to grow their own cannabis plants, but with certain restrictions. The patient must have a valid prescription and be authorized by the Ministry of Health. The plants must also be grown in a secure and enclosed area and must not be visible from outside the property. This change was made in order to give patients more control over the quality and purity of the cannabis they use for medical purposes.

Reduced THC levels in Israel's Medical Cannabis Program
Reduced THC levels in Israel’s Medical Cannabis Program

In addition to these changes, the Ministry of Health has also made changes to the medical cannabis treatment protocol. The new protocol requires doctors to provide detailed information about the patient’s medical history, diagnosis, and treatment plan. This information will then be used to determine the appropriate dosage and administration of the drug. The aim of this change is to ensure that medical cannabis is being used effectively and safely for each individual patient.

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CBD is still illegal

The medical cannabis sector in Israel has experienced rapid growth in recent years, and the policy changes aim to sustain this growth and advance the industry while prioritizing the safety and health of patients. Nevertheless, some in Israel argue that the medical cannabis program is not expanding to cover more medical conditions, and that the Ministry of Health is preventing doctors from enrolling more patients, thus hindering its growth.

Despite the new restrictions on cannabis, CBD remains inaccessible to the general public and it is illegal to purchase without a license for cannabis. As a “Pharma state,” Israel continues to regulate all substances, including CBD, by only selling it in pharmacies to those with proper licensing. This is despite widespread support for legalization in Israel, and a law to legalize CBD was written over two years ago but was blocked by political maneuvering.

What is Delta-9 THC

Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC or simply THC) is the primary psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant. It is responsible for many of the plant’s effects on the mind and body, including its characteristic “high.” THC acts on the endocannabinoid system, a group of receptors in the brain and body, to produce its effects. It has been used for medicinal purposes, such as to relieve pain and improve appetite, as well as for recreational use, such as THC edibles, THC gummies etc. THC levels in cannabis can vary, and higher levels of THC are generally associated with stronger effects.

What is CBD

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally occurring compound found in the cannabis plant. Unlike the primary psychoactive compound delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD does not produce the “high” typically associated with cannabis use. Instead, CBD has been reported to have a variety of potential therapeutic benefits, such as reducing anxiety, improving sleep, and reducing pain and inflammation. CBD has become a popular wellness product and is available in a variety of forms, including oils, tinctures, and edibles (such as CBD gummies). While the exact mechanisms by which CBD produces its effects are not yet fully understood, it is thought to interact with the endocannabinoid system, a group of receptors in the brain and body, to produce its effects.

What are the benefits of Delta-9 THC

Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta-9 THC) is the primary psychoactive compound found in marijuana. The potential benefits of Delta-9 THC include:

  1. Pain relief: Delta-9 THC has been shown to have pain-relieving properties, which can be beneficial for individuals with conditions such as chronic pain, arthritis, and multiple sclerosis.
  2. Anti-inflammatory effects: Delta-9 THC has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, which can be beneficial for individuals with conditions such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
  3. Appetite stimulation: Delta-9 THC can stimulate appetite, which can be beneficial for individuals with conditions such as anorexia or cachexia.
  4. Nausea and vomiting relief: Delta-9 THC has been shown to be effective in reducing nausea and vomiting in individuals undergoing chemotherapy.
  5. Anxiety and depression relief: Delta-9 THC can help to reduce anxiety and depression symptoms in some individuals.

It is important to note that while Delta-9 THC has shown potential benefits in certain medical conditions, more research is needed to fully understand its effects and to determine the appropriate doses and methods of use.

Which countries has well-established medical cannabis programs?

While medical cannabis programs are evolving in many countries, there are several that have well-established program, such as the ones below:

  1. Canada – Legalized medical cannabis in 2001 and adult-use cannabis in 2018, making it one of the pioneers in this field.
  2. Netherlands – Has a long-standing tradition of tolerance for medical and recreational cannabis use, making it one of the world’s leading exporters of medical cannabis.
  3. Israel – Considered a leader in medical cannabis research, with a well-established medical cannabis program and a thriving cannabis industry.
  4. Germany – Has a rapidly growing medical cannabis program, with many patients receiving medical cannabis through the national health insurance program.
  5. United States – Although the legality of medical cannabis varies by state, several states have well-established medical cannabis programs and a thriving cannabis industry.

These countries have a strong infrastructure and regulatory framework in place to support the growth of the medical cannabis program and to ensure the safety and well-being of patients.

Is Israel still a Democracy?

Israel was once a leader in cannabis research, boasting the most advanced medical cannabis program. However, its cannabis laws have fallen behind and are now among the least progressive. The needed changes might not take effect soon, as the current government, led by Netanyahu, is attempting to restrict democracy and civil rights by restricting the power of the supreme court (as in Israel there is no constitution, the supreme court servs as the ‘defender of Democracy’ against illegal legistlation done by parlament).

This has sparked widespread protests as the majority of the population opposes these radical and unpopular changes and will not tolerate living in a non-democratic state.

New Changes to Israel's Medical Cannabis Program
New Changes to Israel’s Medical Cannabis Program

Many in Israel now argue that the government, backed by ultra-religious and extreme groups that reject democracy, lacks the legal authority to undermine democracy in the country. Every week, hundreds of thousands of protesters take to the streets, declaring that they will not allow these changes to take place and will take any legal measures against what they describe as an “illegal” and “criminal” government. This is due in part to the government’s recent changes to the law that allow people with criminal records to serve as ministers, as well as the fact that Netanyahu himself is facing numerous criminal charges.

As a result, Israel, which was once the only democracy in the Middle East, is now gradually moving away from that title, against the will of its own citizens.

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Astronauts to Test Cannabis Growth in Outer Space

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NASA‘s recent collaboration with the International Space Research Consortium to launch a mission testing the cultivation of cannabis in the microgravity of space has stirred a whirlwind of interest and controversy across the globe. This initiative aims to unravel the mysteries of how low-gravity environments affect plant growth, with cannabis serving as the pioneering subject. According to Dr. Alfred Terra, the esteemed lead scientist spearheading the project, the conditions in space present an “unparalleled opportunity” to push the boundaries of our understanding of botany and its applications in medicine and agriculture beyond Earth’s confines.

This ambitious endeavor aims to shed light on the potential for utilizing space-based agriculture to support long-duration space missions and future colonization efforts on other planets. The choice of cannabis as a research subject is particularly intriguing due to its complex biochemical makeup and its increasing use in medicinal therapies on Earth. Insights gained from how cannabis adapts to space’s harsh environment could lead to breakthroughs in growing food and medicinal plants in extraterrestrial colonies.

Despite the scientific excitement surrounding the mission, the announcement has been met with its share of skepticism and criticism. Some members of the scientific community and the general public question the allocation of resources toward cannabis research in space, arguing that more pressing scientific and exploratory questions merit attention aboard the International Space Station (ISS). These critics call for a focus on projects that directly contribute to our understanding of space travel’s impacts on human physiology or further our knowledge of the cosmos.

However, the space agencies involved have been quick to highlight the broader implications of this research. They argue that studying cannabis growth in microgravity could offer invaluable insights into plant biology, stress responses, and the possibility of cultivating a variety of crops in space, which are crucial for the long-term sustainability of space exploration and eventual human settlement on other planetary bodies.

Amidst the debates over the mission’s merits and the speculation spurred by its announcement date—April 1st—lies a deeper curiosity about the future of space exploration and the role of innovative agricultural research in that journey. The timing has led some to question the announcement’s authenticity, pondering whether it could be an elaborate April Fool’s Day jest aimed at sparking discussion or simply a coincidence that has amplified the public’s fascination with the project.

Whether viewed as a bold step into the future of space agriculture or a controversial choice of research focus, the mission symbolizes a growing intersection between space exploration and the quest to understand and utilize biological processes in unprecedented environments. As the launch date approaches and preparations continue, the world watches, eager to see what insights this venture might unfold about cannabis, plant science, and the potential for life beyond Earth.

*** This article is an April Fool’s Day joke ***



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A Hiring Wave on the Horizon

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The U.S. cannabis industry is on the brink of a significant hiring wave in 2024, spurred by a 12% increase in legal sales in 2023, reaching $29 billion. This growth, alongside potential federal reclassification of cannabis, is expected to create up to 100,000 new jobs, particularly in the retail sector, where 93% of companies plan to expand their workforce. The Vangst 2024 Cannabis Salary Guide highlights an industry ready to bounce back from previous economic stagnation, with a strong emphasis on experience, adaptability, and cultural fit in prospective employees.

The cannabis sector is poised for a massive expansion in employment opportunities in 2024, following a year of economic challenges and layoffs. This optimistic forecast comes from Vangst’s latest industry salary guide, which anticipates a hiring boom driven by increased legal cannabis sales and the potential for federal rescheduling. The anticipated move to reclassify cannabis to Schedule III could significantly reduce tax burdens, increase company valuations, and attract more investors, according to Viridian Capital Advisors.

Retail cannabis companies are at the forefront of this hiring surge, with nearly all surveyed indicating plans to bolster their teams in response to growing demand and market expansion. The focus is not just on filling positions but on finding candidates who can navigate the evolving legal and market landscape, prioritize cultural fit, and possess strong communication skills over traditional qualifications.

Salaries in the cannabis industry have also seen an uptick, with top-end wages growing by 4.7%, outpacing the national non-cannabis average. However, the sector still trails behind others in offering comprehensive benefits packages, a gap that affects employee satisfaction and retention. The demand for health insurance and better work-life balance is clear among job seekers in the cannabis space.

Diversity and inclusion are gaining traction within cannabis company hiring practices, with a significant portion of companies implementing strategies to create a more inclusive workforce. The industry’s employment of veterans and individuals with disabilities highlights its diverse nature, but there remains room for improvement.

Why It Matters: This hiring wave marks a pivotal moment for the cannabis industry, signaling a shift towards recovery and growth after a period of stagnation. It underscores the industry’s resilience and its potential to contribute significantly to the economy through job creation and increased sales.

Potential Implications: The anticipated hiring boom in the cannabis industry could lead to wider acceptance and normalization of cannabis use, further influencing policy changes and societal attitudes. Additionally, the focus on diversity and inclusion could set a precedent for other sectors, promoting a more inclusive workforce across industries.

Source: Green Market Report



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86% of Californians Support Legal Cannabis Markets

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A recent survey conducted by the California Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) and FM3 Research reveals that a significant majority of Californians, 86%, believe it’s important to purchase cannabis from legal markets. The survey also indicates growing support for Proposition 64 and highlights the need for consumer education on legal cannabis procurement.

California, a pioneer in legalizing medical cannabis in 1996 and later adult-use cannabis in 2016, has developed into the world’s largest cannabis market. The DCC’s Real California Cannabis Campaign, aimed at guiding consumers to licensed dispensaries, commissioned FM3 Research to survey over 1,000 California adults to gauge their attitudes towards the state’s cannabis market. Key findings include:

  • 62% view Proposition 64 positively, suggesting increased support for cannabis reform.
  • 86% of respondents stress the importance of buying cannabis from legal sources.
  • 72% feel consumers should ensure they’re purchasing from licensed retailers.
  • Despite the legal market’s size, illegal sales remain prevalent, with two-thirds of cannabis sales in 2022 coming from the illicit market.
  • The California Unified Cannabis Enforcement Taskforce (UCETF) reported significant seizures in 2023, including over $312 million in illegal cannabis and 119 firearms, showcasing efforts to combat illegal operations.
  • The survey uncovered education gaps, with 85% of respondents in areas where retail cannabis is banned either misinformed or unaware of local cannabis laws.
  • Opinions on identifying licensed retailers were divided, with 44% finding it easy and 42% finding it challenging.

Why It Matters: This survey underscores the growing acceptance of legal cannabis markets among Californians and the critical role of consumer education in supporting legal operations. It highlights the ongoing battle against illicit sales and the importance of regulatory efforts to ensure a safe, legal cannabis market.

Potential Implications: The findings could influence future cannabis policies in California, emphasizing the need for public education campaigns and stricter enforcement against illegal operations. It also suggests a potential shift in consumer behavior towards supporting legal cannabis sources, which could further legitimize and stabilize the legal market.

Source: High Times



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