One of the world’s experts in cannabis allergy, Dr. William Silvers, is scheduled to speak this November at the Israeli Association of Allergy and Clinical Immunology convention.
“Let’s not use the old term, ‘marijuana,’ with all its negative implications. Use of legal “cannabis” (both medical and recreational) differs by state. Medical cannabis is legal in 31 states and recreationally in nine states plus D.C. Israel is in the forefront of research, application and startups,” said Silvers, who trained at Emory University and Grady Memorial hospitals and founded the Holocaust Genocide and Contemporary Bioethics Program at the University of Colorado.
Silvers extols that cannabinoids – compounds from cannabis working in everyone’s brain – serve as receptors. The evidence supports that it is effective in controlling seizures, movement disorders, old age, cancer, Parkinson’s, pain and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Lean in to hear his expertise:
Jaffe: What is Israel’s history as being a pioneer?
Silvers: In the 1990s Israel noted that AIDS sufferers who used cannabis survived longer and did not lose weight. Now in Israel it has many uses like at homes for seniors for tremors and depression.
What’s really incredible is that the basement of Hadassah Hospital’s bone marrow transplant unit day care center for chemotherapy, on Monday transforms into a medical cannabis dispensary.
Jaffe: What are some of the state-of-the-art studies there now?
Silvers: Dr. Dedi Meiri at the Technion [Israel Institute of Technology] in Haifa is identifying chemicals and publishing an online database on user’s responses to the whole plant. This relates what strains work best on which disorders. Look at it as two tracks: the original research done in isolating THC [tetrahydrocannabinol] and studying the receptors versus what’s being done at the Technion now in studying the whole plant parts, cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids – all working together.
Also, at Ben Gurion University, the Israeli government is supporting clinical trials.
It’s a “win-win”: The Ministry of Agriculture has approved cannabis as an agricultural crop and this stimulates kibbutzim to grow crops legally.
The Ministry of Finance gets the tax revenue. The Ministry of Health is certifying more physicians to prescribe it … previously 20, now 80, … leading to 200 in the future. There is a new test the prescribers must pass.
Jaffe: Give a startup example.
Silvers: Syqe inhaler: a medical delivery device that calculates the exact milligrams of the user’s flower. It should prove to be quite popular.
Note that Israel was poised to export cannabis products; but Netanyahu halted the program to not complicate his relationship with President Trump. There is talk of the option of Israeli companies starting production in Canada and Uruguay, both “legal” countries.
Jaffe: Last word.
Silvers: The use of cannibis is not new; 3,500 years ago it was used in China and the Middle East for various ailments like pain, menses and headaches. We have spent the past 40 years exploring our modern use and making an impact to help others.
I hope we will see some Nobel Prizes coming soon for Israel. For example, professor Raphael Mechoulam, who first isolated THC in 1963; now he’s very popular!