Introduction and Aims: Since 2011, the Israeli Ministry of Health has been working towards increased regulation of its medical cannabis (MC) program by ensuring that MC licensing procedures adhere to the basic principles and practices of the medical profession. The aim of this study is to examine trends in MC licensing in Israel during this period of increasing MC regulation. Design and Methods: Publicly available data on MC licences, collected by the Ministry of Health, were used to examine trends between 2013 and 2018. The number of MC licences, new MC licence requests and rate of MC licence requests accepted were plotted over time. Gender and age distributions and the medical indicators for which MC licences were approved were also examined. Results: Absolute numbers of MC licences and MC licence requests increased during the study period while no parallel increase in the rate at which new MC licences were granted was observed. MC licences for post-traumatic stress disorder increased substantially during the study period. The majority of MC patients in Israel are male, over the age of 40, and used MC for chronic pain. Conclusions: The observed increase in MC licences is likely driven by an increase in patient demand. This study suggests that social forces (e.g. positive media reporting and public attitudes towards MC), beyond MC regulation, are influencing trends in MC licensing in Israel. Studies that examine the skewed gender distribution of MC licences, and the efficacy of MC for post-traumatic stress disorder, are urgently needed.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2020 Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs
- chronic pain
- medical cannabis licences
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)
- Medicine (miscellaneous)