Likud MK says number of physicians who prescribe medical marijuana will rise from 9 to 20 by end of year.
The number of physicians allowed to prescribe medical marijuana will be raised from nine to 20 by the end of this year, Likud MK Haim Katz said on Monday.
Katz, who chairs the Knesset Labor, Social Welfare and Health Committee, said during a raucaus session that a subcomittee will be formed to discuss patients groups’ demands to receive medical cannabis more easily to relieve pain and other side effects of serious illness.
Cannabis is used by sufferers of chronic ailments, including cancer, multiple sclerosis and post-traumatic stress disorder to combat pain, insomnia, lack of appetite and other symptoms.
The Health Ministry will receive recommendations from the subcommittee, while the ministry will provide it with ongoing reports to ensure that “all patients who need it will get it. If there is a need, we will solve the problem through legislation.
We want those who deserve it to get it, while those who are not entitled not to get it.”
There is concern among the law enforcement authorities that less rigorous control of medical marijuana could lead to illegal supplies flooding the general market and being obtained for nonpalliative use.
Health Minister Yael German and ministry directorgeneral Prof. Ronni Gamzu said that the 11,000 patients who receive medical cannabis will continue to do so according to existing regulations and procedures, even if their illnesses are not included in new categories that the ministry has announced. New patients who have medical conditions not listed as eligible will have to apply as exceptional cases, and their requests will be considered.
Ministry officials said that this was a temporary procedure until the use of medical cannabis is arranged officially.
MKs Tamar Zandberg (Meretz) and Moshe Feiglin (Likud Beytenu), who has a relative who needs medical marijuana, said medical specialists should be able to decide whether patients need cannabis.
“Have you fallen on your heads? It’s important. It’s vital, and you’re taking it from patients. I don’t know if it’s lack of sensitivity or evil or other interests,” said the Likud Beytenu MK.
MK Miki Rosenthal (Labor) identified himself as having a condition that has required him throughout most of his life to use narcotic drugs for pain.
“Because of a small group of people who used it even through they are not eligible, we have all become suspect in the eyes of the Health Ministry. It’s terrible!” he declared.
Zvi Hendel, chairman of the Israel Anti-Drug Authority, said he didn’t want Israel to be the highest-ranking country per-capita in regards to medical cannabis use.
Many countries have made it legal, but most of them reversed this position, he said.
TV personality Avri Gilad said that his father, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, screamed day and night reliving the arrival of the Gestapo at his home.
“Then I met Alzheimer’s patients who smiled. There is arrogance by the state that comes and takes from patients’ mouths the medication that helps them,” he said.
Meanwhile, Tel Aviv University researchers who studied mice have found that extremely low doses of marijuana’s psychoactive component – THC or tetrahydrocannabinol – can protect the brain before and after injury.
Although it is a well-known “recreational drug,” extensive scientific research has been conducted on the therapeutic properties of marijuana in the last decade.
By JUDY SIEGEL-ITZKOVICH
Read the full story at jpost.com