There’s no doubt, Israel is leaps and bounds ahead of the United States in terms of cannabis research and cannabis acceptance. While the US continues to struggle with legislation, federal restrictions on cannabis research, and passionate bias for the multi-billion-dollar pharmaceutical industry, quality cannabis research and development has been stunted. However, one startup, based in Denver, is setting out to help cannabis companies and entrepreneurs mind the gap and bridge the oceans.
The Israeli Cannabis Connection
Cannabis Tech spoke with Sara Gluck, Chief Operating Officer, to discuss how the AICA can help North American cannabis companies benefit and learn from Israeli companies and their research. Gluck elaborated on their position in the market by saying, “Our founders, Michael Scherr [CEO] and Jeffery Zucker [President] had the foresight to envision where Israel would be in the cannabis industry – Israel grows very efficient cannabis, and they understand how to grow more with less.”
In general, their goal is to help North American companies make valuable connections within the Israeli cannabis market. While she reminds, there’s still bureaucracy to deal with, which takes time, paperwork, and money, Gluck stated, “Ideally, North American companies could be doing phase one and phase two of their research and development of intellectual property in Israel, and we can help facilitate that.”
“First, our goal is to educate the cannabis community-at-large. Many have no idea that Israel has such a robust medical cannabis program,” she stated during the interview. “Israel is keen on cannabis medicine,” she continued. “Nearly 20 percent of the population consumes cannabis and their medical program is growing rapidly.” Gluck spoke of the medical process in Israel which allows physicians to actually prescribe cannabis, and then the patient works with a nurse to find the right products for their ailment.
Once companies understand the broad range of options and the depth of Israel medical marijuana, the AICA helps create the connections between companies wanting to partner together. The AICA website currently offers podcasts and a weekly newsletter, as well as, a Cannabis Research Tracker to provide insight on current research in Israel.
Cannabis Research Tracker
While getting approved for a clinical trial with cannabis in the United States nearly takes an act of congress, Israeli researchers have been conducting clinical trials on humans since the 1960s. “From cannabis companies to individuals, people are curious,” Gluck mentioned. “We want a place where people can find solid research,” she continued.
As of today, the chart is tracking nearly 40 different studies being conducted in Israel. Current studies include ailments such as anxiety, endometriosis, rare forms of cancer, and many others. Gluck told us, “We would love to expand it to the world, Germany Portugal, China, Spain, and the UK – they are all doing great things.”
The tracker, which is free for everyone to access, is updated once a month and resides on the AICA website. By providing the research, Gluck hopes that “everyone can see that there is a recreational market, a wellness market, and there’s also a pharmaceutical market which can make a long-lasting impact on the industry and the world.”
Educational Resources for All
In addition to the tracker, the AICA offers other resources such as weekly podcasts, monthly webinars, and even global events. Last year the AICA took twelve people to Israel on a 3-day tour which included cannabis education and business, cultural immersion, and tourism. Gluck said, “If our goal is to facilitate collaboration, then what better way than to bring North America to Israel?”
Their podcast, Cannakibitz, cover topics such as Israeli cannabis companies, cannabis business topics, and research. Meanwhile, their webinars cover investment opportunities and speak with cannabis experts and CEOs. Gluck also reminded that the AICA “serves all of North America and the cannabis industry at-large.”
“The world can benefit from what Israel is doing in this industry, and cannabis is on track to be the greatest asset to come from Israel,” Gluck stated. “This is a global industry, and I see the day when we could be smoking cannabis with genetics formed in Israel, grown elsewhere, with a Pax device designed in California and manufactured in China.”
To learn more about the AICA, view the Cannabis Tracker or listen to a podcast, visit their website at https://aicannabis.com.