Medical Cannabis use up 30% in Israel
With the end of the year comes a time when governments and independent organisations start properly evaluating data from throughout the year. One such country is Israel, who have found out their medical cannabis use has gone up by 30%!
Is 30% a big deal?
On the face of it yes! It shows growth in acceptance and use, and no matter how much it is, it is always a good thing that more people are gaining access to the medicine they need. However, the actual increase is not that large in terms of numbers. The Israeli Ministry of Health reports how the number of patients prescribed cannabis has grown to 13,000, up from 10,000 in 2012.
Although Israel is considered at the forefront of medical cannabis use, the government is still very hesitant about it, and pharmaceutical companies are creating obstacles for it wherever they can. MK Haim Katz described how pharmaceutical companies where working to restrict access to cannabis and how easily it is prescribed, as its use cuts into their profits. It is a case of placing money over patients, as is usually the way with our society. Katz is currently the chairman of the Knesset Labor, Welfare and Health Committee.
Implementing real regulation
The government’s hesitance to fully and properly regulate cannabis in the way that they should is what is giving pharmaceutical companies the opening they need. There are plans to improve regulations, with the government wanting to make a completely independent regulating body to produce and distribute marijuana; but currently this has yet to be fully put into action, and it comes down to the Ministry of health to try and keep things ticking over until solid foundations can be put in place.
Health Minister Yael German stated that people who are helped by cannabis should have access to it, implying more needs to be done to speed up the process. The departments of Health, Agriculture and Public security are all currently working on plans to help further regulate the production and safe distribution of cannabis. Hopefully we will see the amount of patients gaining access grow once again in 2014.