|An employee weighs cannabis plants in the grounds of BOL (Breath of Life, the breath of life) Pharma near Kfar Pines Israel, March 9, 2016 (AFP/Jack Guez)|
For some, this installation protected by a moat, a wall, barbed wire, cameras and armed men would think of an Israeli military base. If it does emanated this light pungent smell of marijuana. Here, on the outskirts of a quiet village in the north of Israel, to grow out of sight 50.000 plants from 230 different varieties in the second largest country in the medical cannabis farm.
"For cannabis as we are in the promised land, with a good climate, 300 days of sunshine a year, a humidity perfectly suited" sums Gedo Tamir, CEO of BOL Pharma, a pharmaceutical company authorized by the Ministry of Health to grow and distribute medical cannabis. In Israel, the recreational use of cannabis is illegal. But the state allows and encourages for 10 years the therapeutic cannabis. In 2015, doctors prescribed medical cannabis to about 25,000 cancer patients? Epilepsy, post-traumatic stress disorder or degenerative diseases, not to care their evil, but to alleviate the symptoms.
The use of cannabis for therapeutic purposes divides doctors around issues of addiction and behavioral problems such as aggression. Cannabis has the recognized virtues longtime revive appetite, reduce sleep disorders, and has anxiolytic and even anti-inflammatory, objected his prescribers. They point out that in the field of research on cannabis, everything remains to be cleared. This research advance faster in Israel than elsewhere. The authorities are more liberal and clinical tests on humans escape regulation, unlike other countries.
More and more entrepreneurs, researchers and investors are therefore embarking this business, looking for a top grass: a drug purified, measurable and with the least effect hovering possible. Within the walls of BOL (breath of life, life breath) Pharma, greenhouse complex and laboratories on two hectares, each plant is pampered by software, which at a distance, 24 control/24 biochemical parameters. The medical cannabis cultivation requires special monitoring of certain active ingredients such as THC, psychotropic molecule which gives the impression of gliding and is not recommended for all patients, including children.
"Under the aegis of the ministry, who always has a pioneering attitude on the subject, we forged our expertise in clinical trials and now we can share it with many companies in the United States or Europe, "says the boss of BOL Pharma. It evokes early results, among others, patients with Crohn's disease, characterized by chronic inflammation of bowel, diarrhea and recurrent abdominal pain. Israel has no right to export cannabis flowers, the product of his crops. He put the other hand on the export of agricultural expertise, and even medical technology to become a "Canna-Hub" world. Twenty local university teams have specialized in the field. The prestigious Hebrew University of Jerusalem has just opened its cannabis Research Center.
Approximately 200 industry players gathered in early March in Tel Aviv for CannaTech, annual innovation fair in the. The material a little red eyes for some, despite the prohibition of consuming clearly announced, the costume entrepreneurs exhibited their products: vaporettes similar to electronic cigarettes but for the medical cannabis products against the pasty mouth, creams and ointments with cannabis.
Several startups are sticking to derivatives, some gadgets. Others see greater.
"Look at what has happened in two years, the rate at which the legalization of cannabis progresses. This opportunity, we will not miss it and saw that bring to the table early investors, we feel that it will be very big, "trumpeted Saul Kaye, head of the first incubator for Israeli start-ups involved in the cannabis industry. And in January, the US giant Philip Morris tobacco has invested $ 20 million in Israeli firm Syke specialized in medical cannabis inhalers, sort of wise water pipe cousin ("bang") of smoking grass. At the same time, the Israeli company Eybna announced that it has developed the first species cannabis guarantees without any illegal substance***