EMA Care Blog

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Medical Cannabis Management in Israel

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Medical cannabis management in Israel can be challenging, especially for people who are older with chronic pain or medical conditions.

  Israel is among a growing number or countries that authorize the use of medical cannabis for specific chronic medical conditions, including certain types of chronic pain.  There are currently over 20,000 medical cannabis licenses in Israel. 

Medical Cannabis (MC) has been shown to be effective in improving symptoms for (among other conditions):

    • Certain chronic pain syndromes including neuropathic pain (pain from nerve damage) 
    • Certain chronic diseases 
    • Cancer treatment side effects 
    • Terminally ill patients 
    • Mid- to Late-Stage Dementia in the elderly

Many patients who have failed conventional treatments or have severe side effects from their current medical regimen may qualify for medical cannabis.  Medical cannabis can have serious side effects which must be weighed against the potential benefits of treatment.  These can include cardiovascular effects, psychiatric effects, dry eyes and mouth, increased appetite, and addiction, among other effects.  You must review the pros and cons of medical cannabis with your physician before they prescribe the medication.

The process for getting an MC license in Israel is complicated.  A physician who specializes in your specific health issue (such as a rheumatologist for arthritis pain or an oncologist for cancer) can make the request through the Israel Ministry of Health internet portal, but many physicians remain unwilling to prescribe cannabis.  The Ministry of Health Committee for Medical Cannabis reviews patient files, which must include extensive documentation about the medical issues involved.  The approval process is rigorous, and many candidates get rejected.  Patients get an answer from the Ministry of Health within 6-8 weeks on average. 

If a patient is able to get a cannabis license, he/she is required to make quarterly visits to the specialist, apply for re-licensing well before the expiration of the current license, and to keep the Ministry of Health committee informed of any medical change.  Many patients are unaware of these requirements, which results in expired licenses and gaps in care for 6-8 weeks.  Any request for an increased dose of medical cannabis must go through the same approval process as the initial license request, and likewise, not all requests for increased doses are approved.

Even after approval, the process of ordering, taking, preparing, storing, and managing medical cannabis can be very complicated and stressful.  Unlike a regular prescription medication, cannabis is a plant and there are thousands of species with different therapeutic components, different side effects, and many methods of taking medical cannabis.  Managing medication alone can be challenging for older adults, but managing medical cannabis can be even harder.  Oftentimes, other devices must be purchased to use and store cannabis correctly.  Not every cannabis delivery method is appropriate for every patient, so careful consideration must be made as to the best method for the specific patient.

Medical cannabis is acquired through Ministry of Health licensed distribution companies in various parts of the country.  Most distributors can deliver MC for a small fee.  Many, but not all, licensed distributors have counselors to help patients select the correct type of cannabis and can instruct patients as to what form of cannabis is most appropriate for them (inhaled, pills, oil etc).  However, most of these counselors are not medical professionals and therefore may not fully understand your health condition, needs, and capabilities.

EMA Care case management is performed by compassionate, highly qualified health professionals who can guide and assist people throughout the complex process of licensing, management, and maintenance of a physician-authorized medical cannabis regimen.  We can accompany you, advocate for you, make home visits, and follow-up with your physicians and distributors for you to assure you are getting the best, most consistent care possible.

EMA Care case management nurse professionals are experienced in this field, are able to manage clients nationwide, and are available to advocate for you or your loved ones suffering from chronic, severe health problems.  We can provide guidance to assist you in choosing the best options for managing medical cannabis in Israel.

EMA Care provides medical concierge, case management, and patient advocacy services to tourists, students, and residents of Israel. We can be contacted at info@healthcareisrael.com.  Schedule your free consultation today

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