Reforms Set to Send Israeli Medical Cannabis Patient Numbers Soaring
israel cannabis reform


The number of Israeli patients using medical cannabis is set to soar by 2027, as imminent reforms will make it easier for patients to access cannabis-based treatments.

As of December 2023, 30 years after the Ministry of Health issued its first official medical licence, Israel has over 137,940 active medical cannabis patients — the highest rate per capita of any country in the world. 

But, by 2027, this number is forecast to increase to almost a quarter-of-a-million (241,782) patients — an increase of more than 70%. Cumulatively, forecasts suggest that US$775 million-worth of medical cannabis will be prescribed to patients in 2027. 

These findings and further analysis of Israel’s cannabis industry have been published today in The Israeli Cannabis Report from Prohibition Partners, written in collaboration with the Israel Cannabis Association (ICA)

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The significant increase in active patients will largely be driven by a new set of imminent reforms, planned to commence early in 2024. Specifically intended to improve patient access to cannabis-based medicines, the new reforms will reduce regulatory burdens on medical cannabis operators, initiate growth in research and development, boost Israel’s export potential and harmonise production to EU-GMP standards. 

Under the current framework, patients must obtain a licence in order to receive medical cannabis treatment. Licences must also be periodically renewed to ensure that only those with a legitimate need and with no risk of adverse effects may be treated. 

Under the new framework, the conditions for which medical cannabis can be prescribed will align with indications established or re-evaluated by the Ministry of Health during a ‘trial phase’. This trial is set to begin in late March 2024 and will be reviewed one year post-implementation to consider potential expansions. 

This new model treats medical cannabis similarly to other controlled medications, moving away from the need for a special licence to receive treatment. Certified doctors will directly prescribe cannabis to patients, integrating it into regular medical files, which enhances documentation, follow-up, and treatment coordination within hospitals and healthcare systems.

Speaking about the impending reforms and improved patient access, Ophir Nevo, general manager of the ICA, said: “Following the shift towards registering medical cannabis as a prescription drug, we expect to see many young cannabis users transition from the illicit market to medicinal use, as the process will be easier. Additionally, it may also increase usage among older individuals who currently do not have a licence, by easing the process.”

Eli Levy, CEO of meale.org, a non-profit organisation that aims to help people who suffer from chronic diseases to use cannabis as their medication, said: “The transformative potential [of the new reforms] hinges on crucial factors. For a truly impactful change, the government must take a proactive stance in delivering comprehensive educational resources.” 

The Israeli Cannabis Report is now available to download for free via the Prohibition Partners website.



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Georgi Ivanov

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