Bringing Israel's Medicinal Cannabis Knowledge to Australia 

  

Medicinal Cannabis Use and Research in Israel

See also article in the Jewish Report at http://www.ausimed.org/media/MJR%20articls%20on%20medicinal%20cannabis.JPG

Medicinal cannabis has been legally available in Israel since the 90’s for the treatment of a range of diseases and conditions with over 30,000 patients currently using it under Government and medical supervision. As a result, Israel has lead the world in using cannabis to treat a range of conditions including epilepsy, autism, post-traumatic stress disorder, Crohn’s disease, pain prevention, dementia, MS incontinence and cancer.

Now that Australia has legalised the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes, we have the opportunity of learning from Israel in this area.

The Technion Laboratory of Cancer Biology and Cannabinoid Research (LCBCR), headed by Dr David (Dedi) Meiri (from the video) is one of the leading laboratories in the world and they are keen to help Australian researchers learn from their experience.

This lab identifies the numerous active compounds (being over 500) of the Cannabis sativa plant in over a hundred cannabis strains used in Israel as well as the function of these compounds in therapeutic applications. The lab is also currently involved in twelve clinical trials in Israel with external hospitals.

Their has been international debate about whether the oil from the whole plant is better for treatments or whether individual active compounds are better. Israel's experience is that for many cannabis treatments, the whole plant extracts have more efficacy because of little understood phenomenon called the "entourage effect" where numerous active compounds work together. Australia can gain greatly from this knowledge as many Australian experts favour the use of individual compounds rather than using whole plant extracts.

This lab has also established the "Cannabis Database Project" which includes a medical cannabis patient database ,with both clinical and usage data for cannabis patients in Israel and abroad as well as a cannabis strain database. The database project provides means for evidence-based recommendations for the most suitable, safe and effective cannabis treatment. The lab is also currently running promising mice experiments using particular strains of cannabis to treat a particular type of prostate and breast cancer.

AUSiMED Medicinal Cannabis Knowledge Exchange Program

AUSiMED’s proposed knowledge exchange program will be implemented using four types of Medical Cannabis Training and Support:

1) Research Fellowship for an Australian plant biologist with an interest in the area of medical cannabis to train for 3 months at the Technion LCBCR. The Fellow is expected to return to Australia after completion of the Fellowship to a guaranteed senior research role in a well equipped plant analysis lab; 

2) IT Training Fellowship for an Australian IT expert preferably from the same research institution s te Research Fellow, to train for a month to learn about the Cannabis Database Project;

3) Clinical Fellowships to bring Israeli medical experts in a range of relevant areas to Australia for a week to provide training for doctors on using medicinal cannabis; and

4) An advisor from Dr Meiri's lab to be available to answer questions and collaborate with Australian clinicians and researchers on resolving small issues; and

Knowledge Transfer Activities

Clinical Fellows from Israel will visit Australia for one week to attend hospital “Grand rounds” and give Masterclasses on the use of medicinal cannabis at hospitals in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

The IT Fellow will be trained to set up and run a medicinal cannabis patient database and a cannabis strain database.

The Research Fellow will be trained to use the lab’s state-of-the-art equipment to perform extensive chemical composition analysis and purify specific chemical compounds from cannabis plants. They will also be involved in in-vivo and in-vitro research of the effects of cannabis extracts and compounds in cell cultures, animal models, and clinical trials.

The Adviser from Israel will provide ongoing advice to answer scientific questions for up to 0.5 of a year.

Costs

  • Clinical Fellowships – leading clinicians from Israel that prescribe cannabis, lecturing in Australia for 1 week - $15,000
  • IT Developer Fellowship – 1 month – $20,000
  • Research Fellow – 3 months - $50,000
  • Retainer for an adviser from Dedi's lab to advise on Australian research questions - $50,000 per year
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