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KannaKnowledge has previously commented on the likelihood of recreational legalization in Israel — which is still progressing favorably. But in the meantime, the country continues to be a leader in medical cannabis research and policy. Israel’s Ministry of Health has long championed the use of cannabis to treat appropriate medical conditions, and to regulate it not as a narcotic but in much the same manner as any other medicinal product.

(This is why more than 50 U.S. companies are doing cannabis research in Israel — with at least fifteen having moved their entire cannabis research and development operations to Israel so they can work free of burdensome federal regulations. Israel is one of the only countries where the government sponsors cannabis research.)

The Israel Medical Cannabis Agency is responsible for regulation, and has recently issued a definitive work that is popularly called “The Green Book.” It’s proper name is “The Medical Grade Cannabis Cannacopoeia,” designed to serve as a manual for prescribing physicians similar to a pharmacopoeia for standard medical drugs. In order to ensure high-quality standardized medical-grade products, the IMCA spells out stringent quality control standards in its Good Practices Procedures directives.

Standards are set in five areas, covering all areas of the cannabis chain:

  • IMC-GAP: Good Agricultural Practices, which medical-grade growers must follow.
  • IMC-GMP: Good Manufacturing Practices, regulating work methods, training and quality management for medical-grade cannabis products.
  • IMC-GDP: Good Distribution Practices, setting standards for distributors and pharmacies including proper storage of products.
  • IMC-GSP: Good Security Practices, with tight specifications from seed through sale.
  • IMC-GCP: Good Clinical Practices, with prescribing procedures for physicians.

IMCA’s guide synthesizes all recent data from scientific studies, as well as anecdotal experience from physicians and other clinical professionals. It also provides information on the cannabis plant itself, its pharmacology, its interactions with other drugs and more.

Because all of this information carries the Israel government imprimatur, it elevates cannabis to a standing in the country rarely seen elsewhere. The IMCA’s position is that the field of medical cannabis needs much more evidence-based knowledge, and that it is an important function of government to advance research and uncover new empirical facts.