A few years ago, I had a client whose son had suffered from a genetic disease since birth. One of the main symptoms of his illness was severe pain. He was twelve when my friend casually mentioned to me that the neurologist had suggested medical cannabis as a medication. “Do you think I’m crazy?” she asked me. “Giving drugs to my kid?”
We ended up having a great conversation about the utility of medical cannabis, marijuana, and how it has helped thousands of oncology patients, Parkinson’s patients, and those who suffer from chronic pain.
I explained that cannabis in Israel is actually grown, purified, analyzed and researched right here in Israel and that increased access through a regulated system has brought relief to hundreds of people who must live with immense pain every day. Her son joined the ranks of those who receive the treatment.
But she asked that I never tell anybody her son is taking marijuana.
So I wanted to take a moment to dispel some myths about medical cannabis use in Israel:
• Patients must receive a license from Misrad Habriut (Ministry of Health) to receive the medicine.
• The requesting doctor, [oncologist, neurologist or pain specialist], must complete an online form on behalf of the patient, together with specific reasoning as to why the patient should receive the license.
• Oncology patients, people with Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis who don’t respond to other medications, epileptics, chronic pain suffers (like fibromyalgia), who have exhausted all other pain medications and have not responded, those with Tourette’s syndrome, AIDS patients, PTSD sufferers who haven’t responded to other treatments, patients receiving palliative care for any disease, are all eligible under the law.
• Cannabis can be purchased, for a very subsidized price, in the following forms: smoke, capsules, and drops (with or without THC).
I had another client who had suffered from disabling fibromyalgia for years and came to me after having been rejected once already for a license. Together we found a fibromyalgia specialist who was willing to review her case; we compiled a long list of medications she had used in her native Australia, (that hadn’t worked); we submitted her appeal to the Ministry of Health, and thankfully, received a license. She was able to return to work, care for her children, and rejoin her life.