Since the 60s Israel became known for its scientific look at cannabis. It was never illegally federally for cannabis to be studied so decades of progress have been in Israel thanks to those early pioneers, most notably chemist Raphael Mechoulam who I got to interview more than a decade ago, before the cowboys rushed in.
While the industry is still rife with a lot of smokescreens and penny stock companies there are veritable potential breakthroughs waiting for business. Some 11 companies now with products from healthcare to pharmacology will take on their own sub-index on the TASE, the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. The new index will start trading on November 1, according to the TASE.
Stock market investors are betting that Israel will be a medical cannabis powerhouse and have invested about $205 million USD in shares so far. Those that only sell medical cannabis will not be part of the new index TA-Biomed that will focus on research and healthcare.
The exchange said that investors were looking for this kind of index, and it will now also help mutual fund investors invest in cannabis.
About 71,000 Israelis use medical cannabis in Israel, an almost 40% increase from last year. I’d argue the numbers are in the millions as Israelis self-medicate regularly with street cannabis, most of them medicating the effects of PTSD.
Medical cannabis index companies on the TASE
Dr. Alan Shackelford is a well-known Israeli-American physician who is developing products to treat various indications. I met him in 2015 when I was running my own startup in the space. He was treating a young American girl named Charlotte Figi with a high CBD strain of cannabis to quell seizures. She had Dravet syndrome and the cannabidiol oil prevented daily seizures, giving her respite until she succumbed from Covid in April this year. The name of the medical cannabis strain made for her then is now called Charlotte’s Web.
There are also loads of antics locally, as more people want cannabis to be legal recreationally as well like in Canada. Drones have been dropping cannabis packs into crowds in various Israeli cities.
The companies to be listed on the new index include: Tikkun Olam, Cannbit, Intelicanna, Intercure, Univo Pharmaceuticals, Pharmocann, Cannomed and Seah Medical Group.
Some companies already trading include Evogene. They are dual-listed on the TASE and the NASDAQ, which is common for Israeli stocks.