Medical Cannabis Research in Israel Shows Promise for Autism Patients

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Israeli Agriculture Ministry today recognized medical cannabis as a legitimate crop

JERUSALEM—Two clinical trials being conducted by Dr. Adi Aran and researchers at Shaare Zedek Medical Center show early promise for young patients experiencing extreme symptoms of autism.


In related news, the Israeli Agriculture Ministry today has recognized medical marijuana, as an agricultural crop. Experts at the ministry speculate that cannabis crops will reap as much as NIS ₪4 billion (nearly $113B USD) a year in revenue for the country.

The Israeli government’s liberal stance toward cannabis research enables the country to lead the globe in recognized data on the medical benefits of cannabis, especially in comparison to other Westernized countries, like the United States.

Reported earlier this week on Israeli news outlet Haaretz, trial participants, who included children and some teens, took part in two trials. One was conducted under a double-blind methodology, with half receiving cannabis oil, and the other half administered with a placebo. The other was an “open label” study, in which participants knew they were being treated with cannabis oil.

Patients received a 20:1 CBD-to-THC formulation. While anecdotal, the data gathered seemed to indicate that cannabis oil helped patients relax, lessened outbursts, as well as allowing some patients to be more verbal. Several mothers of patients said outbursts were greatly reduced for children being treated with cannabis oil.

Researchers noted that cannabis oil seemed to work better for patients with autism only, as opposed to autism with other medical conditions. The cannabis oil was provided for the trials from Israeli-based cannabis manufacturer Bol Pharma.

Currently, Israeli researchers are conducting multiple trials aimed at studying the affects of various cannabinoids on conditions ranging from autism to epilepsy, breast cancer to digestive issues. Study and trial results, its hoped, will set a solid foundation for further research, which may lead to a revolution in other countries recognizing the medicinal benefits of marijuana and its potential as a medicine for several hard-to-treat conditions.

An article in The Jerusalem Times reported recent plans by the Israeli Agricultural Ministry to fund 13 new studies, at a cost of $226M USD.

In a statement, the ministry said, “The studies are enabling researchers to conduct basic and applied research, and to develop tools and research infrastructure for the next generation of medical cannabis products.”

Cannabis is not legalized in Israel, but legislation has recently been introduced to decriminalize marijuana possession. Under the proposed laws, those found in possession of 15 grams of marijuana or less, would be subject to a citation and fine for a first time offense.