The Israel Medical Cannabis Association (iCan) and Knesset medical cannabis lobby led by MK Sharren Haskel (Likud) last year led the partially successful push for cannabis decriminalization, leading to the unanimous Knesset vote this March to back legislation reducing punishment for recreational use of marijuana and dropping jail sentences for most users.
iCan CEO Dana Bar On inaugurates a new video series called Humans of Medical Cannabis, where she discusses her organization’s activities and Israel’s worldwide lead in this innovative field. “I have a genetic form of a neuro-muscular disease, which is quite rare. The disease itself is called Charcot Marie Tooth (CMT). It’s a very fast, progressive disease with a lot of twists and turns, and it needs a lot of dealing with.
“So I started the treatment (cannabis) and from a situation in which I was already being measured to fit my legs with walking aids, and a situation in which I could not function on my own, and losing weight, and I could not walk on my own and not move my hands on my own – within three months I danced at my own wedding.
“It was also very clear that this effect is only achievable by a very high dosage of medical cannabis,” Bar On said.
“Most of what we do centers around helping individuals follow their doctor’s advice and receive their medical cannabis treatment, if the doctor so says, and on the other side try to advance, try to move forward with a change in legislation, a change in policy in as far as the medical cannabis policy in Israel goes.”
Bar On stressed the need to differentiate between opinions and facts when discussing cannabis treatment: “It’s a problem for people who saw me in a wheelchair and then four months later walking in the halls of the Knesset, not to understand that there’s nothing to argue here, it’s very difficult, it’s like how do you explain this if you are still against medical cannabis treatment?”
Bar On says medical cannabis advance is in the common interest: “Entrepreneurship and business models are necessary to have a market to begin with and so it’s essential to have those kind of entities and people around. You can tell by the cooperation I have with iCan and the great deal of welcome that I received that our association and the patients from iCan receive, you can tell that it’s working, because this is a place where all agendas can meet, and in order for the patient to have good quality medication, maximum variety and choice to be made, and affordable prices, we need to have as striving a market as possible.”