CBD is a worldwide phenomenon. Cannabis consumption is not limited to Amsterdam, California, or even places that have legalized. CBD brought cannabis products out of the shadows and onto the shelves of your local supermarket. Not all governments have been as receptive to the cannabinoid. At least not recreationally. Lawmakers in Israel have failed to allow CBD to be widely obtainable. This decision is likely by design.
Authored By: Brian Cusack
Israel has been one of the leading countries in cannabis research. CBD’s three-dimensional structure was first identified in 1946 by an Israeli scientist, Dr. Raphael Mechoulam. He would later discover perhaps the most groundbreaking research in the history of cannabis by showing that CBD could possibly treat epilepsy.
Dr. Mechoulam would later discover the entourage effect in 1998. Another milestone in cannabis research suggesting that full plant extracts could perform better medicinally than pure extracts.
Even with the majority of groundbreaking discoveries in the world of CBD coming out of Israel, the government has failed to fully legalize the sale of CBD. 2021 seems to be the year that Israel will make up for the lost time.
CBD in Israel
For the citizens of Israel, getting CBD oil is not difficult. Israel is far from anti-cannabis. CBD was removed from the list of banned substances in August of 2020. It has been available in pharmacies since 2017.
CBD hasn’t seen the success in Israel as in the UK or United States. This seems to be intentional. While the substance is no longer banned, CBD isn’t available to be bought and sold on the free market. The CBD sold in pharmacies is upheld to a high standard, there isn’t the free for all like there is in the US with loose regulations and a hands-off approach by government agencies.
Cannabis is treated like medicine in Israel. It is available in pharmacies, sold by a professional with a medical degree, the dosage is clear and is closely regulated by the Ministry of Health. The farms and production facilities are closely monitored as well.
This approach is much different than that of the US, where CBD is going almost unregulated. The FDA has issued warnings about false medical claims but apart from a warning letter, there hasn’t been much regulation at all. Israel’s approach is much more aligned with all other drugs.
The cannabis industry in Israel is almost entirely being run by the government. Critics of this system would say that this inhibits innovation and access. This case would be a difficult one to make to people like Dr. Raphael Mechoulam. However, Israel’s medical marijuana system has been known to create wait times as long as multiple months. For an Israeli to obtain a medicinal marijuana recommendation from a doctor, they have to try traditional medicine as a treatment for one year. This has resulted in a low amount of medicinal marijuana patients. It is unclear how accessible CBD products have been made to the public through the country’s pharmacies.
Exporting CBD Oil
Israel hasn’t let their strict laws on how CBD is purchased to stop them from cashing in on the emerging market. Companies like Provacan are selling their CBD products online direct to the consumer, as long as they live in the UK.
The Israelis are also looking into exporting their cannabis flower. These deals have yet to unfold but the regulations and legislation is ready to go. With the leading research facilities on the planet and optimal growing conditions, Israel could be one of the leading producers of cannabis.
It is unclear if the Israeli government will allow its citizens to enjoy the benefits of CBD without major restrictions or only subject the rest of the world to their scientifically perfected, ultra-high-quality cannabis products.
The Future of Cannabis in Israel
Currently, the recreational use of all cannabis products is discouraged by the Israeli government. Requiring citizens to only be able to buy CBD oil in a pharmacy with a doctor’s recommendation. 2021 may change this approach.
Israel has announced that they plan on legalizing cannabis in the next year. Becoming the third country after Canada and Uruguay. They plan to model Canada, the only country in the G7 to nationally legalize cannabis.
The plan is to expand the sale of cannabis outside of the pharmacies or designated government-controlled facilities. Opening up the opportunity for privately run businesses to sell cannabis products.
Israel will likely take the same approach that Canada is currently practicing regarding CBD oil. Only allowing the sale to take place at a business specifically licensed to sell cannabis.
The wild west approach taken by the United States seems to be exactly what Israel wants to avoid. They want cannabis to be highly regulated. Much closer to how other substances with medicinal benefits are monitored. The US and UK have separated marijuana from hemp and allowed the sale of hemp to go nearly unregulated.
Clarity Around the CBD Market
For the citizens of Israel, CBD is still technically illegal to obtain outside of a pharmacy. The new legislation is likely to expand the use, but it is unclear if Israel will take the Canadian approach or that of the United States.
For now, Israeli CBD users will have to find an alternative outlet or go through the steps to obtain a medicinal card. Neither is ideal for someone who wants to try CBD for the first time. To allow companies to export CBD products grown and manufactured in Israel but not allow their citizens to buy CBD online from the same company seems a bit unfair.
The Future of CBD Oil in Israel
Israel has led the world in cannabis research. Many of the studies that legislators use to argue for the end of cannabis prohibition were done in Israeli labs. It seems strange that they wouldn’t be more progressive when it comes to recreational cannabis.
When it comes to cannabis, the Israelis know what they are doing. They are likely waiting to see how legalization unfolds in other countries. The Canadian model has had time to develop and is widely accepted as a success. 2021 should bring legal cannabis and widely available CBD oil to Israel but don’t expect to see cannabis being traded on anything close to a free market.