We get this question in varying forms on a daily basis. (Really, daily). So, we’re just going to lay it all out here for you in this one post. Here’s the scoop. As mentioned in a previous FAQ, Cannabis is still considered a Schedule One Illegal Substance here in Israel and therefore has yet to be legally defined as a medicine. However, there is enough evidence to support – if not all out prove – that cannabis benefits many patients with a wide variety of conditions and helps to ease suffering. To that end, Israel does boast a rather robust medical cannabis program. Relative to other countries, even relative to many states in the US, one might go so far as to call Israel’s medical cannabis program “progressive,” but we’re still a long way from full access to medical cannabis – and there is a lot of criteria to meet before eligibility in the program can be established. Here are the steps that one must take to apply for a license: Step One: Visit the Ministry of Health’s page for guidelines about applications and permits. Get familiar with what conditions are currently approved for medical cannabis. Here’s a cheat sheet:
- Crohn’s disease or Ulcerative Colitis (and has tried and exhausted at least two conventional treatments for more than 3 months and is a candidate for surgery).
- Chronic Pain (and has been treated in a pain clinic for over a year).
- Neurological Disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, Tourette’s Syndrome, Epilepsy, Multiple Sclerosis (and has exhausted conventional treatment).
- Suffers from PTSD with at least a 30% disability (according to national insurance , has exhausted conventional medical and psychological treatments AND has suffered for at least 3 years)
- Has certain types of cancer, or is undergoing chemotherapy.
- Infectious disease (HIV/AIDS)
Step Two: Get educated about your condition and speak with your doctor about the possibility of medical cannabis for your unique situation. Understand that the best advocate for a patient’s rights is the patient her/himself. We recommend you stay abreast of the latest research, join groups of like minded people, do your own research and seek out the health care providers that you trust. There is no “list” of doctors that are more apt to prescribe medical cannabis. iCAN has no specific referrals to share. The application process must be initiated by your treating doctor. She/He must submit a request for a license to one of the 36 doctors ‘deputized’ by the Ministry of Health to approve (or deny) the request. It’s as simple as that folks. There are no shortcuts to this process. Not what you hoped to hear? What would you do to change it if you could? Happy to hear your ideas in the comments below. In the meantime, wishing you good health and good things.