Since the 1960’s, Israel has been a pioneer for cannabis research. It was none other than Israeli chemist Dr. Raphael Mechoulam who was responsible for first isolating THC, followed by several revolutionary breakthroughs that have changed how the world understands how cannabis works – and heals us.
The rest is history: biotech firms began sprouting all over Israel, schools began publishing notable studies on medical cannabis, and they legalized marijuana for medical use. Israel has long been far ahead of the West when it comes to medical cannabis research, all the while in the US it remains federally illegal. On top of that, the biotech firms in Israel continued innovating ingenious ways to administer cannabis for medical patients.
But on October 7, 2023, the tragic war struck Israel, with Hamas terrorists killing thousands of citizens – and the war has not stopped. Right before the war began, Israel was already working on major cannabis reforms that would help increase the numbers of medical patients enrolled in their MMJ program. One of the biggest projects they were working on was to change how cannabis was viewed; while it was being used as a last resort when other medications didn’t work, they wanted to transition to using it as a first line of treatment.
The war will change all that now.
There have been several ways the industry is impacted, as a whole; here’s what’s been happening over the last few weeks:
Increase In Medical Cannabis Patient Numbers
BYND Cannasoft Enterprises Inc. published a press release, which gives the rest of the world a look into the dramatic rise in patients enrolled in the medical cannabis program. Within a month, the medical cannabis registry saw an increase by 2,202, which is almost twice the monthly average. In November 2023, they had around 132,000 medical marijuana patients enrolled, with most of these patients seeking desperate help for treating conditions related to post-traumatic stress.
This isn’t surprising, considering that there is a significant increase among patients in Israel right now who need post-trauma care – and cannabis has been proven to be one of the most effective medicines for this condition.
“Israel is a small country, and although we continue to take a business-as-usual approach, every one of us is directly impacted, either personally or through our family and loved ones,” said BYND Cannasoft Enterprise’s director and CEO, Yftah Ben Yaackov, in a press release. “In Israel, the cannabis and pharmaceuticals industries are part of the critical infrastructure sector, and I am very proud of how the team is coming together to work through this horrific situation,” he said.
Employees And Family Members Of Biggest Cannabis Company In Israel Are Targeted
On October 19th, Daniel Hagari, a spokesperson for the Israel Defense Forces, announced that the military disclosed to 203 families the hostages that were abducted by Hamas, reported The Times of Israel. It was estimated that a minimum of those 2 hostages were employees at InterCure, which is among the biggest medical cannabis operators in the country – as well as the biggest publicly traded marijuana firm outside North America.
On October 17th, InterCure released a report stating that two of their employees in their facility in Nir Oz had been kidnapped. “Despite the despicable barbaric terrorist attack against the residents of Israeli towns and villages, we stand strong” said Alexander Rabinovich, InterCure’s CEO, in a statement. He also said that several of his employee’s family members perished.
“We support the families of those murdered and injured, among them, several of company’s employees from Kibbutz Nir Oz,” he added.
Businesses Need To Do What’s Necessary To Survive
A few days after the war began, on October 13th, a top medical cannabis company with offices in both Israel and Germany published a press release.
IM Cannabis Corp, its subsidiaries IMC Holdings Co as well as Rosen High Way Ltd. announced that they entered into several short-term loans which amounts to C$1,390,000 from various lenders. These debts have an annual interest rate of 18% and will mature 6 months into issuance with several different types of maturity rates. They intend to use these loans for working capital.
We will likely see several medical marijuana businesses resort to the same in the near future.
Medical Marijuana Studies Continue
SciSparc, an Israeli pharmaceutical company, has started with their studies of SCI-210, a CBD-based drug designed to treat autism among children. This unique medication will be trialled on 60 participants, whose ages range from 5 through 18. It will be conducted at Israel’s Soroka Medical Center.
Last July 2023, SciSparc was given the green light from the Israeli Medical Cannabis Agency to start the trials.
“Our pioneering treatment aims to reduce and alleviate the symptoms of autism along with reducing the side effects that are common when taking cannabis-based treatments, such as CBD,” explained Oz Adler, CEO of SciSparc. “Partnering with the Soroka Medical Center and the National Autism Research Center, we are exploring new territory in ASD treatment. We are driven by science and the goal of improving life quality for children with ASD and their families,” he said.
“Medical cannabis is an important field in the medical aspects,” added Yuval Landsheft, IMCA’s Dierector. “The IMCA was established when it was clear that professionalism is required in this field. We are in the world of pharma, and as such, we encourage companies to conduct well designed and controlled trials in order to be able to approve indications and to keep Israel as a global leader in medical cannabis,” reports Cannabis Science Tech. (Full Story)