While marijuana is still a schedule 1 drug here in the states, in Israel, there’s a bit more of an open policy when it comes to medical marijuana. Though regular cannabis use is still illegal, medical marijuana is nationally recognized as legal in Israel.
According to a CNBC report on Tuesday,in government-run hospitals and nursing homes, patients who wish to can receive medical marijuana in the form of THC, cannabidiol or cannabis pills. The largest provider of medical marijuana, a company called Tikun Olam, provides their services to about 30 percent of all medical marijuana patients in the country.
However, there is still some pushback. Though the company has been able to successfully offer treatment to Arab and Jewish patients within Israel, they’ve made little progress in treating patients under Palestinian Authority. In Palestine, there is still a large stigma associated with cannabis.
The country also offers “pediatric pot.” The service —not the actual marijuana—provided by Tikun Olam usually costs $100 per month, including a one-time tutorial fee of $40 to help teach patients how to properly use the marijuana. However, for kids, the service is free.
In giving marijuana to kids, many worry about the studies that suggest that marijuana can harm a young person’s brain. However, for parents who have to watch their children endure the pain of cancer, any treatment seems to be better than none.
One man, named Yanic Eshed, says he believes in the benefits of marijuana for children. His 9-year-old son is being treated for bone marrow cancer. For the first 9 months of treatment, his son did not use medical marijuana, and Eshed says he wishes he had known about the benefits. He noted that he could have been saved him from months of pain.
A board member of the Physicians for Humans Rights, a group Tikun Olam is appealing to in order to gain a partnership in the Palestinian Authority, says that giving cannabis to pediatric patients can help them overcome some of the problems related to serious diseases, including HIV/AIDs.
CNBC noted that in Israel, medical marijuana is a $40 million industry and that research conducted there has helped spur America’s own industry, which is expected to be valued at $2billion this year.
While the medical marijuana industry has clearly already taken off in several states and legalization legislation is taking place in many more, we seem to be far away from taking such a progressive stance when it comes to medical marijuana and our children. Marijuana has been shown to alleviate symptoms of certain diseases, there is still much we don't’ know about the drug. And following how long it has taken us to even get this far, medical marijuana for children seems very far off indeed.
How do you feel about medical marijuana for kids?