Home > What we do > Medicine & Healthcare > hMedicine > hMedicine Story

US Cannabis Activist Meets Hadassah’s Cannabis Research Pioneer

Cancer Survivor, Cannabis Activist, and Founder of the Beverly Hill Cannabis Club Cheryl Shuman recently visited Israel to meet with Cannabis Research Pioneer Prof. Raphael Mechoulam of the Hadassah-Hebrew University Faculty of Medicine, whose work provided the basis for the medical community’s embrace of medical marijuana (cannabis). Ms. Shuman, who was diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer many years ago, credits cannabis with bringing her back from the brink of death.

“Much of our work was begun half a century ago,” says Prof. Mechoulam. His interest in cannabis was sparked after he returned from a post-doctoral fellowship at the Rockefeller Institute in New York and became interested in the intersection of chemistry and biology. “Cannabis,” he says, “was ripe for investigation.”

Fluent in a variety of European languages, Prof. Mechoulam read 19th century papers about the plant’s potential. The Israeli police gave him five kilos of high-quality Lebanese hashish that they had apprehended from a smuggler. He coined a new term, “cannabinoids” (referring to the active constituents of cannabis) and isolated first CBD, a non-psychoactive constituent which, according to research at Hadassah, reduced sugar levels in diabetes-prone mice and ameliorated effects of heart ischemia (inadequate blood supply). Then he isolated THC, the psychoactive constituent, as well as half a dozen other cannabinoids.

Prof. Mechoulam notes that pharmaceutical companies have been reluctant to fund clinical trials because marijuana use is controversial and impossible to patent.

Yet, he says, “Cannabis remains a medical treasure trove which waits to be discovered.”

Dr. Elyad Davidson, who heads Hadassah’s Pain Clinic, does offer cannabis to his patients. He reports, however, that “we’re still pre-clinical, which means that although cannabis is being used, we’re guessing on its efficacy and safety. Pain isn’t something you can quantify, so we rely on the reliability of patient reports.”

With 500 beds, 19 stories (five underground) and state-of-the-art technical equipment, the Tower is the most advanced medical facility in the Middle East.

DONATE

Join

Advocate

Lead

LEARN MORE

View all of our Impact Areas

In 2007, the first cannabis fields were sanctioned by the Israeli government. Today, 10 official growers/dealers have the permission of Israel’s Ministry of Health to plant fields of marijuana. There is, however, no standardization of the product yet. “This means that one dealer might be using leaves, while another is using blossoms, and a third, a different strain of cannabis altogether,” explains Dr. Davidson. “Certain strains and sub-strains have higher psychedelic qualities. This makes prescribing difficult.”

One Hadassah study has revealed that 85 percent of its patients found marijuana effective as an adjunct therapy for the pain associated with bone marrow transplantation. But, questions remain.For example: Does marijuana actually decrease the pain or just help a patient deal with chronic pain?

“There are now about 14,000 patients in Israel who have received government permission to take cannabis. This includes people suffering from chronic pain, the inflammation of Crohn’s disease, the spasticity of multiple sclerosis, the nausea caused by chemotherapy, the anxiety of post-traumatic stress, and the after-effects of bone marrow transplants.

Ms. Shuman came to Israel to learn about the medical marijuana industry there. Her hope is to cultivate a relationship with Israeli experts in this field and recruit them to advocate for quality medical marijuana treatment. The organization that is hosting her stay in Israel is calledTikkun Olam (repairing the world) and, according to Ms. Shuman, she and this oldest and largest marijuana-growing dispensary in Israel are dedicating their energy to repairing the world one bud of high-grade cannabis at a time. Her goal is to take Tikkun Olam’s unique model of dispensing marijuana and counseling patients international.

Read more about Ms. Shuman’s journey from terminal cancer patient to celebrity spokesperson for medical marijuana

Read more in The Jerusalem Post



Date: 1/24/2014

Hadassah Stem Cell Expert Speaks at TEDx Conference in Jaffa

FDA Grants Approval for US Clinical Trials of Hadassah-Developed Technology to Treat Fatty Liver Disease

Hadassah Physicians Receive Prestigious Grants and Awards

New Research at Hadassah: Computational Tools Unravel the Mystery of Transient Amnesia

From Life-Threatening Brain Bleed to Birth of a Daughter

Cookbook Author, Rabbi Marks, Spends Last Days at Hadassah's Hospice

Hadassah’s Revolutionary Tipat Halav Clinics of 1920s Featured in Jerusalem Old City Museum

Victims of Terror Share Their Stories of Anguish and Appreciation with Hadassah President

Hadassah’s Advanced Gene Sequencing Changes the Life of a Family from Uzbekistan

IDF Medic Heroically Battles Terrorist, Both Treated at Hadassah

Orthopedic Trauma Turns Tragedy into Innovation at Hadassah

On the Cutting-Edge of Melanoma Treatment: Hadassah’s Protocols and Research

Saving a Newborn from a Life Without Sight

Terrorist and Victim Sent to Hadassah's Hospitals After Third Attack in Two Weeks

Three Sent to Hadassah After Second Jerusalem Terror Attack of the Week

Clinical Trial of Hadassah-Developed Stem Cell Treatment for Macular Degeneration Gets Go-Ahead from FDA

“We Don’t Say ‘No’,” Hadassah Neurosurgeon Explains in Operating on 82-Year-Old Patient

Cutting-Edge Medicine and Research; a Role Model for Peace: A Briefing from the Hospital's Director General

4 Ways Hadassah Hospital is Preparing for Ebola—Just in Case

Hailing from 17 Countries: the 39th Graduation Class of Hadassah’s International Master of Public Health Program



More hMedicine Stories




Hadasit, Hadassah’s Technology Transfer Arm, Reviews 2012’s Accomplishments

When the Hadassah University Medical Center’s physicians suggest a solution to a medical problem which can lead to the development of a new medicine or product, Hadasit, Hadassah’s technology transfer arm, explores its feasibility and supports the promotion of those viable ideas with innovation potential. Although 2012 has been “a year full of challenges for the life science industry,” says Einat Zisman, Hadasit’s Chief Executive Officer, Hadasit still signed 125 agreements for clinical trials, all to be done at Hadassah. In addition, Hadasit signed 15 agreements for cooperation and commercialization of technologies that were developed at Hadassah. Click here to read the latest Newsletter from Hadasit >>

   |  Who We Are  |  What We Do  |  Where We Do It  |  Read About It  |  Join Now  |  Donate  |
  |  Login  |  Contact Us  |  Careers  |  Terms & Conditions  |  
Copyright ©2014 Hadassah is a registered trademark of Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America