The idea of treating chronic medical conditions with prescribed cannabis isn’t a new one. Over the years, the effects of medical cannabis (in tablet form, oils, as edibles etcetera) upon pain relief, nausea, anxiety and depression, seizures, and sleep disorders, have been tested widely – to varying degrees of success.
From a legislative perspective, medical cannabis can create complexities – largely due to the nuanced and inconsistent side effects that the drug may have, combined with the inconsistent genetic composition of cannabis. Indeed, the level of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – that is, the primary psychoactive component of cannabis, varies from plant to plant, making it extremely difficult to deliver controlled amounts of the drug.
Israel’s start-up ecosystem has fostered development across a magnitude of sectors, and medical cannabis is no exception. Hundreds of thousands of shekels have been poured into R and D, from top universities to private companies, and governmental institutions. For example, in 2019, OurCrowd launched a $30 million fund exclusively designated for medical cannabis. Studies are being conducted across the spectrum of medical conditions, including cancer, PTSD, autism, epilepsy, Crohn’s disease, and schizophrenia.
CannaLean Bio: CannaLean Bio’s patented technology aims to provide relief to patients living with dyslipidemia (an illness leading to elevated cholesterol or fats in the blood). Using a synthetic form of cannabidiol (CBD) combined with chitosan, CannaLean’s CBD-based solutions help fight the signs and symptoms of metabolic syndrome. The company has completed various in-vivo and pre-clinical studies that have shown a significant decrease in cholesterol – demonstrating the potential clinical effect of CannaLean’s patented technology.
Elixie: Elixie invents, develops, and commercializes innovative drug delivery systems. Their Pro-Nano Liposphere (PNL) technology is proven to be more effectively absorbed by the body, compared to traditional oral delivery of cannabinoids. Elixie’s Soluboil Capsules provide fast-acting relief for patients suffering chronic pain, using their PNL technology to achieve a more immediate and amplified therapeutic effect. Elixie’s patented technology is global-ready, meeting regulatory requirements in Germany, Israel, and Australia, and additional patents are pending across the US and Canada.
Syqe Air: Syqe is a pharmaceutical technology company, developing technologies that enable the precise delivery of a wide range of therapeutic molecules by inhalation. Syqe’s drug-delivery technology allows hundreds of existing and preclinical drug molecules to be considered for inhalation – potentially game-changing technology for the wider market. Syqe’s Inhaler – their flagship product – is the first medical grade, metered-dose, hand-held device, that aerosolizes and guarantees absorption of medical cannabis – effectively delivering relief to sufferers of chronic pain and PTSD. In February this year, Syqe announced the signing of an agreement with the Israeli Ministry of Defense, to supply its inhaler and cartridges to all Israeli veterans prescribed medical cannabis by inhalation. This agreement means that veterans can access Syqe’s treatment options in the same way they access pharmaceutical drugs – positioning Syqe’s treatment as the standard of care in the field of medical cannabis.
This focus on R and D has led to a wide range of products developed by and being exported from Israel, from cannabis flowers and seeds to oils and tinctures, and new technologies for delivering controlled levels of THC.