Initial NIS 6 million invested in joint research venture aiming to unlock new medical marijuana benefits gets greenlit in Israel with the Volcani center.

It’s great news to find out from Y Net News, that the research in Cannabis will be greenlit. Leading the research is the Israeli government, in cooperation with the Volcani Center, they will be looking into the plant’s medical benefits, from Alzheimer’s to cancer and inflammation. One hundred different cannabis species will be imported to Israel as part of this project.

Dr. Nirit Bernstein, a senior researcher at the Volcani Center specializing in plant physiology, and professor Nativ Dudai, director of the herbs research center will be the head of the project. Their aim is to create 15 different original strains intended for different medicinal uses within three years.

Though roughly 160 medically effective compounds (named cannabinoids) have been identified in cannabis, only three have been studied and used, mainly for pain relief and soothing. The project’s research will engage in hybridization and cultivation of new, more disease and weather-resistant species, since the cannabis plant is very sensitive and currently has no regulated protocol for its growth.

According to Bernstein, Israel is among the few countries to carry out research projects of this type and scope on marijuana. In the United States, for instance, though medical marijuana has been approved for personal use in 25 states, the federal government has not approved research on the plant.

NIS 6 million will be invested in the first stage of the project. One of the partners financing it is Pharmabis Genetics, a private company owned by businessman and former Rishon LeZion deputy mayor Shlomo Sagiv. Sagiv initiated the project after his wife was injured in a car accident that left her suffering from severe pain, which was relieved by her using medical marijuana.

The partnership agreement with the Volcani Center was signed last week. Pharmabis Genetics is planning to export the cannabis strains developed in the project after Israel’s exporting regulations allow for it.

Bernstein said that one of the aims of the study is to create strains that will enhance the plant’s medicinal properties. “There are components in cannabis that have not been studied at all,” said Bernstein, adding, “We are now studying the effects of Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and various cancers” and that cannabis has been found to be effective in cases of inflammation and nausea.

“This project could lead to a breakthrough in cannabis research. It is still very limited around the world, but the Israeli government encourages the plant’s research and development, placing Israel at the top of the global pyramid for the study of medical cannabis,” said Bernstein.

There are currently eight farms in Israel that are licensed to grow cannabis, with their overall goal being to become a lucrative, national agricultural export industry.

Source : Y Net News