Isreali Nextage Explores Effective Delivery of Psychedelic Compounds

Israel is one of the leading countries for medical cannabis research and has held this title for decades; since the 1960s to be exact. Now, they’re joining efforts to study the benefits of psychedelics in a clinical setting as well.

Of the main areas of focus is using psychoactive compounds to treat clinical depression and other psychiatric disorders. One Israeli company, Nextage Therapeutics, is looking specifically at utilizing ibogaine, along with their own patent delivery system, to better treat people with these conditions.

When it comes to treating psychological disorders and minimizing the risk of side effects, psychedelics are the way of the future. Check out our newsletter, The Delta 8 Weekly, to learn more about these incredible compounds as well as gain access to exclusive deals on flowers, vapes, edibles, and other products.


What are Psychedelics?

Psychedelic drugs are a subset of hallucinogens. They contain psychoactive compounds that are capable of altering a person’s mood, perception, and cognition; sometimes permanently. The active compounds are usually found in nature, like psilocybin or mescaline, but they can also be manmade, like LSD.

Psychedelics are known for causing ‘trips’, which is what the high is referred to. When a person is tripping, they may have altered perceptions of the world around them. Many people believe this is limited to visual and auditory hallucinations, but it can also include feeling, tasting, and smelling things that are not real, as well as a heightened sense of connection and understanding, and greater feelings of introspection.  

The trips that people most commonly associate with these types of the drugs are the ones in which a state of hallucinogenic delirium is reached, but that is not always the case. Many times, it is more of an experience than a trip, and something can be learned and achieved psychologically with every small dose.

The word itself, ‘psychedelics’, was first used in 1957 to recognize substances that were said to open the mind, however, the more accurate term for them is ‘entheogens’. This term was adopted, not necessarily for the sake of being scientific, but rather to allow the sector to operate without all the stigma attached to psychedelics from smear campaigns and restrictive policies throughout history. The term entheogen comes from Greek where it means ‘building the god within’.

Different psychedelics produce different trips. For example, with DMT you can expect a short high lasting less than 1 hour, whereas LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline trips can last up to ten hours. Some hallucinogens are more potent than others, like mushrooms vs acid. The active compounds are different in each drug so there is a lot of variation to the effects that can be felt.  

Some people experience bad trips in which negative, or even scary, hallucinations are experienced, and/or a rapid heartbeat, sweating, nausea, disorientation, and fatigue occur. There is indication that the majority of these symptoms can be controlled through proper dosing. This is why most modern-day, therapeutic users of psychedelics consume the drugs in micro-doses.

Nextage Pharmaceuticals and MindMend

According to Nextage Founder and CEO Abraham Dreazen, “there has been a shift in the last decade. The US Food and Drug Administration, for example, is starting to see quality of life as a factor in evaluating medicine, opening the door to these drugs.”

Earlier this year, Nextage signed a collaboration agreement with industry trailblazer Mindmend, to use their proprietary new technology known as Brain Targeting Liposome System (BTLS) – a delivery system Dreazen claims will “optimize the delivery of drug products based on noribogaine, and ultimately other ibogaine derivatives.”

Ibogaine is a naturally occurring psychoactive substance found in Apocynaceae plant family in Gabon, a small coastal country in central Africa. Although minimal research exists, a handful of clinical studies found that Ibogaine and its derivatives can be used to combat addiction, and it was looked at particularly for the treatment of opioid addiction, for which the results were promising.

Unfortunately, when used at high doses over a longer period, there are potential side effects. In a recent press release, reps from MindMend explained that, “orally administered ibogaine and noribogaine present unacceptable safety risks due to their torsadogenic effects at high systemic concentrations.”

Simply put, there’s a moderate risk of heart attacks when using noribogaine. However, Dreazen believes that if the drug is administered using certain methods that better permeate the blood-brain barrier, so more of the drug actually reaches the brain rather than going to other parts of the body, including the heart. He described it as “the winning lottery ticket.”

Permeating the Blood-Brain Barrier

When it comes to treating psychological and neurological disorders, or really any other disease or condition affecting the brain, the main challenge is permeating the blood-brain barrier. The purpose of the blood-brain barrier is to protect the brain from foreign substances, and as such, can prevent up to 95% of molecules from reaching the brain.

So far, the most common way to work around that is by giving prescribing these drugs at extremely high doses, and that, needless to say, can have numerous unwanted and severe side effects. Using a more effective model, The BTLS platform, licensed from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, has been making use of a “liposomal vehicle with a unique targeting complex” that allows for blood-brain barrier permeation at much lower doses of various pharmaceutical agents.

This is a relatively well-known concept, but according to Dreazen, Nextage took it a step further and attached a “small arrow of seven amino acid peptides – essentially a very small protein – which is part of a much larger protein that is native to the brain and has a way of actively transporting the liposomal capsule through the blood-brain barrier. Once the capsule is drawn into the brain with the arrow, it gets lodged there and starts dissolving, facilitating release of the active material – the drug.”

What the Future Holds for Nextage

Nextage has been working in the drug delivery sector for 14 years and their daughter company, IMIO, is focused solely on psychedelics. The company completed most of required preclinical worked needed to determine the potential efficacy and generality of their new patent technology. They have already worked with CBD and THC-based medications and Nextage/IMIO plans to explore the potential of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD).

Dreazen says LSD “is a really promising drug.” Its challenge is that when taken, people can “trip” for 15 to 17 hours, making it very unfeasible as a chronic treatment. But just like with ibogaine, he believes that if the dose can be reduced and the least amount possible gets into the body as opposed to the brain, “you could potentially get the same therapeutic effect without the longevity of the trip.”

“In the US, the psychedelic movement has exploded in the last 12 months,” Dreazen added. “I think psychedelics in Israel are just emerging, and we are the first public company to really put our teeth into it. Israel has always been in the forefront of research and development and we are committed to spearheading this industry.”

Final Thoughts

As you can see, conversations surrounding the use of psychedelics to treat mental health and neurological disorders is reaching nearly every corner of the globe, and the countries that have been more accepting of cannabis are also spearheading the medical psychedelic revelation. Psychedelics are here to stay, and in the very near future, we can expect to see a lot of these compounds being safely used in clinical and therapeutic settings.

Thank you for stopping by CBD TESTERS, your hub for all things cannabis and psychedelics-related. Make sure to Subscribe to The Delta 8 Weekly Newsletter to learn more and for exclusive deals on Delta 8Delta 10 THCTHCOTHCVTHCP & HHC.

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Global Cannabis Leaders – Most Advanced Countries for Medical Research

The United States cannabis market is the largest in the world with sales expected to surpass $92 billion by the end of 2021. Despite this, cannabis is still federally illegal. It is difficult to gauge the full scope of the health and societal problems caused by cannabis prohibition, but we do know that the plant’s illegal status has put millions behind bars, blocked safe access for patients who could benefit from its use, and drastically hindered the ability of researchers to discover more about marijuana’s therapeutic potential.

Although the United States is way behind on the cannabis research front, thankfully a handful of other countries are picking up the slack. A growing number of people are using already using cannabis therapeutically and providing anecdotal data, so the pressure is on for science to catch up by conducting appropriate clinical research and create fair and progressive new laws. Nations like Israel, Canada, and The Czech Republic are changing the global narrative surrounding this plant by offering the world ground-breaking medical studies, quality control laboratory testing, and numerous other types of important research-based services.

Cannabis medicine is the way of the future, and so much more research is needed to understand the full scope of benefits one can experience from using this plant therapeutically. From relieving mental health conditions to curing cancer, it seems there is nothing that marijuana can’t do for our bodies. To learn more, make sure to subscribe to The Medical Cannabis Weekly Newsletter for other articles like this one, as well as exclusive deals on events and products.


Israel

No country in the world is better known for cannabis research than Israel. Not only is this the nation where it all began, but they are still paving the path with their modern research efforts today. Back in the early 1960s, Israeli scientist and University Professor, Raphael Mechoulam, first identified and isolated tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) from the cannabis plant. His discovery jumpstarted the medical cannabis revolution and helped change how the entire world looked at this plant.  

Today, Mechoulam is President of The Multidisciplinary Center for Cannabinoid Research at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he is leading a team of researchers that continue to uncover the numerous medical benefits associated with the now hundreds of compounds that have been found in cannabis. He has received millions in grants to create cannabis-based treatments for aggressive forms of cancer, and he was recently awarded the Technion Harvey prize for his work in the field.

By 2017, many in the industry had nicknamed Israel “The Holy Land” for medical cannabis; still known as an international hub for some of the most advanced scientists and researchers in the industry and it’s one of the few countries in the world where doctors prescribe cannabis-based medications with some regularity.

A great number of our most important cannabis studies come from Israel, including many about the endocannabinoid system, cannabis and cancer, mental health, addiction, and the list goes on. Israel has seen so much success with cannabis research that more restricted countries (like the U.S.) rely on Israeli data for their own scientific and legal initiatives. Although Israel has been shipping out cannabis products for some time now, many believe the small country’s most valuable export is medical data.

Uruguay

Although Canada tends to get all the glory, Uruguay is actually the first country to legalize the sale and possession of recreational cannabis, which has now been in effect for almost a decade, since 2013. In the industry, Uruguay is known for jumpstarting the federal legalization movement in many different nations, as well as creating the first medical cannabis export program in Latin America that launched in 2019.

Shortly after legalizing adult-use cannabis, Uruguay began to seriously invest in scientific research and was soon recognized as a “hotbed” of medicinal cannabis innovation. Uruguay has many unique advantages that make it a prime location for cannabis research and emerging trends. First is the country’s size and political stability, which make it easy and safe to control cannabis production and distribution.

Also, it is also worth noting is the country’s prime growing location, at a latitude that allows for off-season production to North America and Europe. Their short and mild winter season lasts from around June to August, which means Uruguayans can cultivate cannabis almost year-round. All that, combined with other factors such as transparency, reliability, legal and economic security make Uruguay a perfect region for cannabis industry development.

Malta

Malta, officially referred to as The Republic of Malta, is a small Mediterranean country formed by a small group of islands, located south of Italy and east of Tunisia. With a population of just under 500,000 and occupying only 122 square miles, Malta is the smallest country in the European Union, both by land size and population.

However, this small European archipelago is set to become a major global hub for medicinal cannabis research and production. In March of 2018, medical cannabis was officially legalized in Malta, which was followed by the Production of Cannabis for Medicinal and Research Purposes Act a month later. This legislation included all the stipulations for cultivation, processing, consumption, importing and exporting, therein.

Earlier this year, TechforCannEU announced that it had secured funding of up to 2.5 million euros from Malta Enterprise, the nation’s economic development agency, to begin establishing the world’s first medical cannabis industry tech accelerator.

This program offers up-and-coming cannabis entrepreneurs in the areas of healthcare, biotech, agriculture, infrastructure, and digital technology to receive government funding for their work, and thus allows them to reach milestones faster, with less error and expense, ultimately increasing their probability of commercial success. The funds will go directly to the start-up companies selected to participate in the program’s first round.

Canada

Canada is the largest to country to legalize recreational cannabis for adults. In 2018, five years after Uruguay, cannabis became the second nation to end prohibition. As one of the most economically secure countries, with a large land mass and decent sized population, Canada has positioned itself as a global leader in numerous different industry sectors including agriculture, investment opportunities, and research.  

Lab testing is a big part of Canada’s cannabis market and the country is home to a very large number of labs across all of its provinces. Well known labs offer the industry a wide variety of testing services including cannabinoid and terpene content, contamination levels, analytical chromatography, and much more. Only lab tested material can be used in the production of cannabis-based medications, and Canada has cornered that sector.

Some of the largest cannabis research centers in the world, including Michael G. DeGroote Centre, McGill, and McMasters, are located in Canada; as well as some of the biggest corporate names in the industry. Companies like Tilray’s, HEXO, and GW Pharmaceuticals – to name a few – are well known to researchers, investors, and consumers alike.

The Netherlands

The Netherlands, Amsterdam specifically, is a region that is well-known for cannabis. Although it is illegal (which is a shock to many), the Netherlands has one of the most lenient marijuana decriminalization policies on earth. Recreational cannabis is used freely by adults and available for purchase and consumption in coffeeshops around the city, some of which have become famous for this exact reason.

In 2003, the Netherlands launched its national medical cannabis program and the country that has long been synonymous with cannabis tourism and redlight districts, suddenly began to make a name for itself as a beacon of marijuana science and testing.

The Netherlands has since received funding for numerous different studies, some of which were very large scale and covered everything from medical applications to treatment of mental disorders, and even limitations on academic performance. Facilities where these trials are conducted can be found all over the country.

Since Amsterdam is stuck in a legislative catch 22 (similar to the US), where cannabis is legal for adults to purchase in the coffee shops, but illegal to produce and sell, the Netherlands are conducting what they refer to as “weed trials”. Starting this year, cafes in 10 different cities will get a legal supply of quality cannabis to sell in their shops as part of a four-year experiment to see if they can deter the nation’s illicit suppliers.

Czech Republic

The Czech Republic legalized medical cannabis in 2013 and is one of many EU countries that have been loosening cannabis restrictions in recent years. What makes the Czech Republic unique, however, is that this Eastern European nation is now home to one of the most advanced and expansive cannabis research facilities in the world: The International Cannabis and Cannabinoids Institute (ICCI).

The ICCI launched in 2015 when a few prominent organizations – Americans for Safe Access (ASA), Prague KOPAC, and Dioscorides Global Holdings (DGH) – joined forces with the Czech Republic’s Minister of Health and created this medical marijuana research hub. The goal is to create a center of excellence that offers the cannabis industry a variety of science-based research services.

According to the website, “The main work of the ICCI is to provide scientific instruments to public and private institutions all over the world. The purpose is to enable scientific examination of the relation between bioactive cannabis compounds and the effect on the human organism in the treatment of specific syndromes and, in the future, systemic health disorders,” said the ICCI CEO Pavel Kubů.

The research conducted at ICCI focuses on three main subjects: Biomedicine, Life Science, and Policy Science. ICCI is an organization that “combines various institutions (universities, high-tech companies, associations) and their capabilities to provide service to the broad array of entities around the world interested in the development of cannabis and cannabinoids as medicine.”

Spain

Spain is one of the first European nations to decriminalize personal use of cannabis products for adults, but their medical laws leave much to be desired. It might have something to do with the high rates of tourism in the country. Earlier this year, the committee of the Spanish Congress voted in favor of a that will establish a subcommittee to investigate the effects of regulated medical cannabis programs in other countries.

Regardless of the difficult laws, Spain is the location of numerous largescale cannabis research projects that have helped shed new light on its pharmacological uses. In 1998, researchers at Madrid’s Complutense University found that THC can be used in the treatment of cancer, by activating programmed cell death in certain brain tumor cells without harming surround cells and tissues.

More recently, pharmacologist José-Carlos Bouso, alongside Professor Raphael Mechoulam and Dr. Franjo Grotenhermen from Germany, as well as other leading industry scientists, founded the Spanish Observatory on Medical Cannabis (OECM). The organization is comprised of the top cannabis minds in the industry, and the observatory is said to “promote the works of its members and also highlight the ongoing research done by other Spanish health professionals who are looking into marijuana research.”

What About The United States?

You likely noticed by now that the United States didn’t even make the cut. It may seem surprising that the country with largest global cannabis market is not on the list. So let’s quickly cover the DEA’s Controlled Substances Act, which still, to this day, categorizes “marihuana” as a Schedule 1 narcotic with high likelihood of leading to abuse and addiction, and no known medical applications. According to the scheduling, cannabis is more dangerous than cocaine, but sure, let’s pretend none of that is part of their political smear campaign against a healing plant.

Regardless, US cannabis prohibition has thrown a huge wrench in the wheel of the fast-paced medical research movement. Many of these restrictions can be somewhat avoided during the formation of a recreational market, but when it comes to clinical research, certain criteria needs to be met in order to secure funding and authorization to conduct studies on human subjects. One of the criteria is that the product in question also needs to be legal.

Ultimately, not much has changed here in the last five decades and researchers who do wish to study the plant are limited to acquiring subpar and very limited samples from the only government-approved cannabis production facility in the country – The University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy’s National Center for Natural Products Research, which established the “marijuana project” in 1968.

Weed politics in the US are not pretty, but pressure from the public is mounting to deschedule cannabis and open the gateways for proper research initiatives. Until the laws change, patients will continue fighting for fair access and prominent companies will get their data from elsewhere.

Final Thoughts

As a fun, recreational, adult-use product, all the most popular industry trends will likely come from the US. When considering cannabis as a powerful medicinal product with hundreds of therapeutic compounds to be harnessed and thoroughly studied, look elsewhere in the world. The countries on this list may be lacking the pizazz that our flashy recreational markets possess, but they are leading the way when it comes to research and development, testing, analysis, and data.

Thank you for stopping by CBD TESTERS, your source for all things cannabis-related. Make sure to subscribe to The Medical Cannabis Weekly Newsletter for more informative articles like this one.

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Episode 364 – A Tribute to Steve Fox

Betty Aldworth, Andrew Livingston, Jordan Wellington, and Mason Tvert join host Kris Krane to talk about the life and legacy of our friend and activist Steve Fox, who passed away at the age of 53 in April. Produced by Shea Gunther.

Photo: Nancy Lane/Boston Globe

Episode 363 – New York’s Big Marijuana Moves

Jeremy Berke joins host Ben Larson to talk about the rumored embrace of cannabis companies by the Toronto Stock Exchange, the substantial cannabis reform enacted in New York and the business opportunities soon to flow, and the latest news out of international cannabis. Produced by Shea Gunther.

Photo: Elsa Olofsson/Flickr

CanBreed Introduced The World’s First Fully Stable and Genetically Uniform Cannabis Hybrid Seeds

(PRESS RELEASE): Marketing of CanBreed stable Cannabis seeds, which will enable standardization in the Cannabis industry, is expected during 2021

CanBreed, a leading Israeli Cannabis genetics and seeds company engaged in the development and enhancement of Cannabis seeds, is proud to announce that it has completed the development of the first known stable and uniform Cannabis hybrid seeds in the world. In doing so, the company brings a solution to the main problem of the Cannabis industry that suffers from lack of uniformity and standardization due to the absence of genetic stability in Cannabis plants resulting also in high production costs that hamper growers’ profits. Stable and uniform hybrid seeds, with improved genetics, are the solution to both these problems.

In June 2020, after more than three years of strenuous research and development, CanBreed completed the development of the first uniform homozygous (100% stable) Cannabis parental lines. Crosses between these parental lines creates the world’s first true F1 hybrids Cannabis seeds. The company has completed the first F1 hybrid seed production cycle in the world. These stable hybrids will ensure the reproducibility, standardization and high quality of raw material for the entire Cannabis industry.

In the present cycle, CanBreed produced dozens of stable new varieties from diverse genetic backgrounds, which will be planted for testing in CanBreed’s breeding and seeds production farm that is at its final stages of construction. At the end of the selection phase, which is expected to be completed during the first half of 2021, the seeds of the varieties that fit industry demands will be marketed.

Unlike most agricultural crops that are grown from stable seeds, Cannabis plants are presently propagated vegetatively through cloning by using cuttings from mother plants. Cloning is done in order to ensure genetic identity between the offspring and the mother plants, which until now could not be achieved by growing Cannabis from seeds because there were no stable Cannabis seeds.

The main cause of the lack of standardization that exists in the industry is that the raw material extracted from Cannabis plants grown from cuttings is not reproducible. On one hand, cloning ensures a genetic identity between the offspring and the mother plant, but on the other hand, the cloning methods that exist today (such as tissue cultures) do not prevent the aging of the mother plants. Thus, similar to the natural aging processes that take place in any living organism (including humans) mother plants accumulate aging related mutations and changes in the

genome that cause differences in the chemical profile of the plant. This leads to the fact that despite being genetically identical, the chemical profile of offspring differs from those of the young mother plants.

The reason that until now it was not possible to get reproducible and uniform Cannabis products by growing Cannabis from seeds is that all Cannabis strains in the market today are heterozygous (genetically unstable) and crossing between two unstable Cannabis strains will produce seeds with high genetic variation. Thus, today every seed grown on a plant produced from the crossing of two unstable plants is genetically different from all the other seeds on the same plant. The fact that all the seeds are different from each other in a particular Cannabis plant means that plants grown from these seeds, even though they originated from the same plant, will have a different genetic profile. Therefore, to this day, the only method available for Cannabis growers to preserve the genetic identity of the offsprings has been through cloning of mother plants.

CanBreed's genetically uniform Cannabis hybrid seeds
CanBreed’s genetically uniform Cannabis hybrid seeds

The solution to the problem comes from the seeds industry.

In the agricultural industry, plants, such as tomatoes, corn, watermelon, etc, are grown exclusively from stable seeds thus ensuring genetic uniformity that enables high quality growing and reproducibility of the products.

Stable seeds, such as tomato seeds, corn, etc. used in the agricultural industry, are produced from homozygous parental lines (plants that are 100% genetically stable). The procedure of creating homozygous plants requires dedicated resources, unique agronomic and scientific knowledge and consumes considerable time. Crossing of two different homozygous plants will produce seeds that are genetically identical, meaning that all the resultant seeds of the crossing will have the same DNA (identical twins). These seeds are known in the seed industry as F1 Hybrid seeds. Using F1 Hybrid seeds will always result in plants identical to each other, thus eliminating the need for cloning of Cannabis and Hemp and ensuring the reproducibility and uniformity of the raw material extracted from the plant.

In parallel to the development of stable seeds, CanBreed is developing YieldMaxTM, an enhanced genetic trait platform, which contains all the agronomic traits that Cannabis and Hemp growers need for consistent, high-quality, cost efficient mass-scale cultivation. The breeding of the YieldMaxTM traits is achieved by using CRISPR-Cas9, an innovative gene editing technology. Upon completion of the YieldMaxTM development, the stable seeds of CanBreed will contain also these traits.

At November, CanBreed announced that as part of its project to develop a Powdery Mildew resistance trait, which is one of the traits in the YieldMaxTM platform, the company performed and identified an editing event in the Cannabis plant genome using CRISPR-Cas9. This report follows the company’s announcement on signing a commercial license agreement for CRISPR-Cas9 foundational patents with the CRISPR patent owners – Corteva Biosciences and Broad Institute

(of MIT and Harvard). The CRISPR developers were recently awarded with the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for 2020.

The company further announced recently that it had purchased a 3.5-acre farm in San Diego county in California. A production facility of stable hemp seeds intended for the US market is planned to be set-up at the farm. The farm’s initial output is expected to be about 12.5 million seeds annually, which will subsequently increase to about 50 million seeds annually.

Ido Margalit, CanBreed CEO: “The company’s achievement comes after nearly four challenging years of development as the company faces extensive knowledge and infrastructure gaps in the field of Cannabis seeds, and in parallel invests in market education regarding the feasibility of developing stable Cannabis and Hemp seeds. CanBreed’s achievement, first of its kind in the world, positions the company at the forefront of this emerging industry that will provide a solution to a huge global potential market of Cannabis and Hemp seeds, estimated at hundreds of millions of dollars a year”.

About CanBreed

Founded in 2017, CanBreed’s goal is to increase the profitability of Cannabis farming, while enabling growers to supply uniform and high-quality raw material to Cannabis-based industries. The company is based in Israel, where the use of Medical Cannabis is legally permissible, operating one of the largest R&D Center and a seed trialing and production facility in the country. CanBreed is managed and staffed by a multidisciplinary team of dedicated seed and genetics professionals.

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Finally! CBD Is Not Dangerous Drug, Says Israel

More and more countries have been loosening their policies when it comes to the non-psychoactive component of cannabis – CBD (cannabidiol). With a new amendment waiting for final approval, Israel says CBD is not dangerous, and is expected next week to remove it from its Dangerous Drugs Ordinance.

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When it comes to cannabis, Israel is not the most lax country when it comes to regulation. However, this undermines the fact that Israel is about the most far ahead when it comes to medical research concerning cannabis. With the help of Raphael Mechoulam, whose work was roundly ignored for decades, and who in the more recent environment of cannabis acceptance has now been lauded for his work, Israel has been the world leader in cannabis research. This did not stop the drug from being completely illegal recreationally, with no personal use laws until only the last couple years. Now, in a move that shows its ready to play catch-up for real, Israel not only is discussing plans for a recreational legalization, but is set to remove CBD from its list of dangerous drugs, with the expectation that CBD products will soon be lining supermarket shelves.

Current Israeli cannabis laws

Israel only instituted a decriminalization policy for cannabis in 2019, which affords personal use rights for small amounts in the home. The term ‘small amounts’ was defined by the Anti-Drug Authority as 15 grams. Public use and possession still results in a fine of 1000 NIS, or $307 (by today’s conversion), though this is a vast improvement from what it was before, when offenders could be required to pay as much as 226,000 NIS, or $69,479 (by today’s conversion). The 1000 NIS is just for a first offense, and doubles with the second offence, and turns into a criminal act on the third. This comes with the loss of a drivers’ license and/or gun as well. Minors under the age of 18 who reject a treatment program when caught, can still be subjected to jail time.

cannabis legalizations

Like pretty much anywhere in the world, selling and supply crimes are illegal, and offenders can find themselves with 20-year prison sentences. This can be increased to 25 years in the case of extenuating circumstances, like selling to a minor. Cultivation is technically illegal, but also seems to fall into gray area. According to the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance, growing can carry up to 20 years. In 2017, the publication Cannabis made public that there had been an order issued which stated that growing small amounts for personal use would only be seen as a minor violation. This was meant to be a way to separate large-scale, and small-scale growers. However, this order was obviously never meant to be public, and when Cannabis put out the news, the response from law enforcement was that no change had legally been made.

When it comes to medical, Israel legalized medicinal use in 1999, this coming 3-4 decades after the initial release of groundbreaking studies into the medical attributes of cannabis. First it was limited to terminal patients with cancer or AIDS, until the law was updated in 2007 by the Israeli Ministry of Health, which broadened the scope of the program to allow more ailments to be treated with cannabis. In 2019, a bill was introduced to allow the exportation of medical cannabis internationally.

So, what’s the deal with CBD?

While it almost seemed like CBD was going to get an international pass when the UN recently voted on cannabis rescheduling measures, the result was only a removal of cannabis from schedule IV, with no further clarification on CBD. Even so, Israel is treating it as if that clarification was made, saying CBD is not dangerous, and does not need to be treated like it is.

In 2016 it was first brought up in Israel’s Knesset to remove CBD from Israel’s list of dangerous drugs, where it has been since 1973. Notice how this article is being written now and not in 2016, as it is only just now up for removal in 2020. While plenty of CBD products are sold in Israel, this removal would open up use even further. In August of this year, the Minister of Health approved the removal of CBD from the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance. Next week, the Knesset Health Committee is expected to give the final approval for this to go into effect. Assuming this happens, regulation of CBD will then fall under the Ministry of Health’s Medical Cannabis Unit. The Ministry of Health had been investigating the idea of removing CBD for years, with Deputy Health Minister Yoav Kish working to accelerate the pace to move things forward. Kish has been working on this for quite some time, along with bringing down the price of medical cannabis in Israel.

Once CBD is officially removed, it means the compound can be added to any number of regular products found on supermarket shelves including toothpaste, chocolate bars, beauty products, supplements, and almost anything else that the compound can be squeezed into. In fact, any cosmetic or food produce will be able to contain CBD, so long as the THC content is .3% or lower – which is more in-line with US standards than European standards, even though Europe is Israel’s biggest export market target. The EU, of course, is in its own quest to possibly raise the approved THC content allowable in products to .3% as well. The final wording of the amendment defines cannabis as the entire cannabis plant, including roots, but excluding oil extracted from seeds, or finished products with a THC content not exceeding .3%.

cannabis products

Another thing to understand about this amendment is that it’s not all about CBD. It includes every cannabinoid that’s not THC, so long as the product or preparation still adheres to the no more than .3% THC policy. This means that other psychoactive cannabinoids like CBN (cannabinol), will also be able to be freely used. THC would remain the only compound listed in the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance, meaning that according to Israel, CBD is not dangerous, and neither are other non-THC cannabinoids.

It should always be remembered when reading a story like this, that the final approval has not actually been made. Next week, when the Knesset Health Committee gets together, it will discuss the issue. If it agrees that CBD is not dangerous, then it can officially make the approval of the amendment. So, while it does seem like Israel is taking a straight shot to making this happen, it’s not a done deal, and technically, doesn’t have to be. Interested parties should keep a watch on the news (and this site) to find out the outcome next week.

What does this mean for Israel?

Obviously, it gives the ability for wider use of CBD, which many find to be useful for a variety of medical issues. But, like always, it goes well beyond helping citizens get more CBD in their lives.

According to consulting firm Deloitte Israel in a report from September 2019, the Israeli market for CBD, including cosmetics, dietary supplements, and food and beverages, stands to be worth $300-475 million within the next five years. The estimation is that Israel will be able to attain and hold about 1.5% of the total global CBD market share by 2025, which should be approximately $30 billion by that time. The industry is also expected to open up about 8,000 new jobs for Israelis.

By 2025 it’s expected that cannabis cosmetics will account for about 15% of all cosmetic sales globally. By 2026, its expected that nutritional supplements containing CBD will generate $345 billion in just the US, with Israel seeing approximately $120-150 million in revenue accordingly from that time period, in that field. In terms of foods and beverages containing CBD, its expected that in five years from the start of the policy, that the market will bring in $18-36 billion a year for Israel.

CBD is not dangerous drug

Right now, Europe is Israel’s biggest export country target, and by the end of this year, Europe is expected to have approximately €8.3 billion in revenue from CBD product sales. This is expected to increase to about €13.6 billion a year by 2025. The largest market within Europe for CBD sales is Germany, which is expected to bring in €1.8 billion in sales by the end of the year. The UK (though not a part of the EU anymore) is the second biggest market in the region, and is expected to bring in €1.7 billion in CBD product sales by the end of this year. While its totally possible for some of these numbers to be off (in fact, I guarantee you, they will be), they do show the basic parameters of what can be attained in these industries, what can be expected as far as growth, and the potential of a country like Israel to pull in a huge chunk of the action.

One last note on Israeli cannabis reform. The country may actually be starting to lay the foundations for recreational legalization, potentially within a year, with Canada as the basic model for regulating an adult-use market.

Conclusion

For a country with more cannabis research, knowledge, and expertise than any other place in the world, it’s about time for Israel to be a bit more forward thinking. Luckily, the last few years have shown that Israel can not only play catch-up in terms of regulation and legalization, but is still capable of essentially dominating the field.

It should also be noted, that the amendment that will remove CBD – and all other non-THC cannabinoids – from the list of dangerous drugs, will also lower the price of cannabis medicines by as much as 50%, and make it far easier for doctors to issue prescriptions to patients for cannabis medications.

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Resources

It’s Not Your Parents’ THC – Welcome Cannabidiolic Acid Methyl Ester
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Time to Vote: Will WHO Cannabis Recommendations Be Accepted?
Prestigious Harvey Prize, a Predictor of the Nobel Prize Goes to Raphael Mechoulam
The CBD Flowers Weekly newsletter (your top resource for all things smokable hemp flowers)
The Medical Cannabis Weekly newsletter (International medical cannabis business report)
Lebanon Legalized Medical Cannabis, 1st in Arab World

The Delta 8 Weekly Newsletter (All you need to know about Delta 8 thc) and the Best Black Friday Delta 8 THC Deals 2020Cannabis Election Results –Why Israel Is (and will continue to be) A Global Leader in the Cannabis Industry Best hemp flower deals
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Cannabis Falling from the Sky in Israel Best Delta-8 THC Deals, Coupons and Discounts.
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EU Beat France, CBD Legal Throughout EU

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