From April 19 to April 22, 2009, MAPS President Rick Doblin went to Israel to work with Ministry of Health-approved medical marijuana producer Yohai Golan and Golans investors. Ricks efforts in Israel involved consulting with the Ministry of Health about the possibility of allowing production facilities to sell marijuana to Ministry of Health-approved patients in order to create a sustainable system. Currently, the Israeli government has only given Golan, and several other producers, permission to give away the medicine they grow, but not to sell it. Rick is hopeful that the Ministry of Health will eventually permit sales of marijuana, but he recognizes that the wheels of bureaucracy turn slowly.
On Tuesday, May 12, 2009, Mike Corral–an experienced medical marijuana grower from the Wo/mens Alliance for Medical Marijuana–arrived in Israel to consult with three different growing facilities on techniques to maximize yield while reducing costs. An anonymous donor funds Mikes work in Israel through MAPS.
While in Israel Rick heard good news about several current studies investigating clinical applications for medical marijuana. Among the studies taking place are a study with patients with Crohn’s disease and patients with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The PTSD study will use THC drops as opposed to smoked marijuana. Raphael Mechoulam, Ph.D, who was a part of a team of scientist to first isolate and identify THC as the active ingredient in marijuana, developed the THC drops. Nearly three decades later he led a team that identified the endocannabinoid anandamide, part of an endogenous cannabinoid system in the human nervous system.