Israel to look into legalizing CBD

Health Ministry committee to examine the possibility of removing cannabidiol from the list of dangerous drugs.

Chemdawg marijuana plants grow at a facility (photo credit: REUTERS)
Chemdawg marijuana plants grow at a facility
(photo credit: REUTERS)

Israel is going to look into removing products containing cannabinoid (CBD) – the second-most prevalent active ingredient in marijuana, and one that does not produce psychotropic effects – from the list of dangerous drugs, the Health Ministry said on Tuesday in announcing the establishment of a committee to investigate CBD.

“We are examining the removal of CBD extracted from cannabis from the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance so that products containing CBD can be marketed,” Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz said on Twitter. “On the issue of medical cannabis, with its products and ingredients – we are working to facilitate and open up where possible. Regarding legalization, it is also time to set things free.”

According to the World Health Organization, CBD in humans exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence.

“There is unsanctioned medical use of CBD-based products with oils, supplements, gums and high-concentration extracts available online for the treatment of many ailments,” reads a 2017 WHO report. “CBD is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile. Several countries have modified their national controls to accommodate CBD as a medicinal product. To date, there is no evidence of recreational use of CBD or any public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”

The experts will examine the possibility of the substance being sold legally, with a particular emphasis on its potential use in the food and cosmetics industry. Their work will include checking how different countries approach the question, what limits are necessary in terms of safety, and how to ensure enforcement of the rules.

A man prepares a cigarette mixed with marijuana during Cannatech 2017, an annual global cannabis industry event, in Tel Aviv, Israel March 20, 2017. (credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN)A man prepares a cigarette mixed with marijuana during Cannatech 2017, an annual global cannabis industry event, in Tel Aviv, Israel March 20, 2017. (credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN)

The committee will be headed by Assuta Medical Centers chairman Prof. Joshua Shemer, and recommendations are due to be presented to the ministry in January.

In July, the coalition suffered a major defeat when a draft bill to decriminalize the recreational use of up to 50 grams of cannabis for personal use and up to 15 seeds, while also reclassifying CBD as a food additive, failed to get a majority in the Knesset after the Ra’am Party decided to vote against the bill.

At the end of last month, the coalition created a committee headed by New Hope faction chairwoman Sharren Haskel to legislate on medical cannabis.

Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.