Israel’s Hidden Marijuana Farm Tikkun Olam (the interview)

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Founded by a retired biologist who supplied cancer patients with home-grown marijuana, Tikun Olam farm grows the herb and gives guidance to people disabled by pain.

We may associate growing marijuana with furtive operations and police raids, but in Israel there are at least seven facilities authorized to grow the herb for medicine. See our recent post on Israel’s newly-relaxed regulations on medical marijuana. And while illegal traders make big profits, Israel’s  biggest authorized cannabis suppliers simply gift it to licensed patients who can’t afford to pay.

Tikun Olam is the name of the farm, and its name, which translates as “repairing the world,” reflects its idealistic origins.

Dora Cohen, a retired biologist with a big heart, began cultivating the plant in two rooms of her own home to help cancer patients. With official recognition of marijuana’s effectiveness in pain management, she and her family founded a facility with 11,000 square meters of greenhouses, automatic climate control systems, and a meteorological station.

The farm is located in an unpublicized area in the north. Police surveillance of the area is stringent, with cameras everywhere and the workers checked for smuggling. Strict safety precautions are taken when the processed marijuana is transported to patient’s homes or to Tikkun Olam’s center in Tel Aviv.  When we asked the farm’s spokesperson, Yuval “Tubi” Zolotov, about visiting the farm, he explained that it entails a complicated clearing process through the police. Luckily, he gave us a good picture of medical cannabis in Israel today by phone.

Green Prophet: What’s special about medical marijuana?

Zolotov: The best-known chemical constituents of cannabis are the cannabinoids, and THC is the most famous of those. It’s the strongest one for making a person feel high. But it’s not  the most important cannabinoid for medical purposes. We are working on developing other strains of cannabis with lower THC values.

Green Prophet: Do patients get high anyway?

Zolotov: Each person reacts in his/her individual way to cannabis. Our clients are sick people seeking relief from physical or psychiatric suffering. It’s an entirely different atmosphere than when a person smokes it for fun. But presumably some people do experience a mild high. On the other hand, every conventional medication for major pain relief produces side effects and dependencies. Cannabis’s are far milder.

Green Prophet: Once a person has obtained a license to buy cannabis, do they just take the cigarettes home and start smoking?

Zolotov: We provide trained guides on managing safe treatment at home. We can’t recommend dosage because every patient has an individual pain threshold which he/she must learn to manage according to need. Some patients prefer to absorb cannabis through a tincture in alcohol (administered in drops), an edible oil from the seeds, or to eat chocolate or cookies containing marijuana.

(Find Green Prophet’s recipe for Majoun marijuana candy here.)

Green Prophet: Approximately how many patients are authorized to use marijuana today?

Zolotov: It’s hard to say, because cannabis is usually issued only to patients in later stages of disease and so there are a certain number of deaths, as well as new patients, all the time. But we estimate 7000-8000 people. There are 120,000 cancer patients today in Israel; we estimate that in the future at least 40,000 of them will be using medical cannabis.

Green Prophet: Thank you, Tubi Zolotov.

More about cannabis and other drugs in the Middle East:

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10 thoughts on “Israel’s Hidden Marijuana Farm Tikkun Olam (the interview)”

  1. 3fvbcmbwefgbw1yisg2xxcdnf2bmyuzcschkwvsxvdne8bhyuwv1cmkwvsnhz

  2. Cesar Sa says:

    Shalom

    I saw online about this beautiful work with THC/CBD and here I am requesting your assistance and guidance about how I may be treated with CBD for my illness as I know after many research that it will cure what I have. Please; let me know as I am overseas although; I can go to Israel as needed anytime to be healed.

    Toda Raba

    Cesar

  3. Michael Gandolfo says:

    i think this tikun olam farm will make a good investment.The prospects of medical marijuana,is astounding.Are any of the companies on the stock exchange.?

  4. J.T. Chronic says:

    What was done to this medical plant was the rich polotican’s have used it as a game piece at the demise of the people who need it to survive.I am a father,,grand father,son,uncle,cousin,and an American man that feel’s sad to be an American because of these criminal law’s of probation.I” been through kemo,surgeries, I can’t sleep or eat all because of these criminal law’s. The polotican’s only listen to who they want to. Look at Oboma doging question’s about MMJ on u-tube. I also severed my country for 6 yrs, and I get treated like the enemy. We’ve had enough of the game’s for money. It should be about the people not the Pres. or Fed.,government!

  5. As always, a very interesting story!

  6. Miriam Kresh says:

    It’s just humane to legitimize relief to people living with pain that never lets up.

  7. Maurice says:

    Hey, lama lo? Brings back a few memories from the early ’70’s.

  8. I’m not a smoker or inclined towards altered states myself (life is good enough as it is) but I do wish for a day when we as a globe get our acts together regarding the use of medicinal plants like marijuana. This history behind why it was banned in the US – what little I know – is fascinating and shows that the political decisions made during one era can effect generations later.

    Cool story.

    1. Langbart Ros says:

      My husband (who is 83 years old) has been suffering from spinal stenosis for over a year. He is in constant pain and we would like to obtain permission to receive medicated cannabis. How does one go about obtaining permission?

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