Pubdate: Thu, 19 Apr 2018
Source: Philadelphia Daily News (PA)
Copyright: 2018 Philadelphia Newspapers Inc.
Author: Sam Wood


A Pennsylvania marijuana producer is partnering with an Israeli
cannabis pioneer to cultivate and sell proprietary strains of the
plant in the Keystone State.

Ilera Healthcare operates a medical marijuana cultivation facility in
Waterfall, Fulton County. Ilera plans to open its first
state-permitted dispensary in Plymouth Meeting on May 4.

Tikun Olam -- the name means "Repair the World" in Hebrew -- is a
powerhouse in cannabis research. And in Israel, it dominates the
medical marijuana market. The Tel Aviv-based company has developed
dozens of proprietary genetic strains, some of which are designed to
alleviate anxiety, depression, nausea, pain associated with cancer,
and other ailments, a spokesman said.

The partnership allows Ilera to cultivate and sell strains developed
by Tikun.

"We wanted to bring together the real science with real premium
medicine," said Oludare Odumosu, chief operating officer for Ilera.
"That's why we sought them out."

Tikun has conducted clinical studies with Israeli hospitals,
universities and nursing homes and collected data from 20,000 Israeli
patients, said Stephen Gardner, the chief marketing officer for Tikun
Olam USA.

Unlike in the United States, where the federal government outlaws it,
medical marijuana is permitted in Israel. Gardner said the relaxed
regulatory atmosphere has allowed Tikun to conduct small, double-blind
clinical studies on the effects of marijuana on Crohn's disease and

The company also has studied substituting cannabis for opioids in
nearly 3,000 cancer patients.

"By using specific strains, we were able to eliminate opioids in 36
percent of a test group," Gardner said. "They were able to move off
opioids and use cannabis as a pain relief management tool."

Gardner said Tikun and Ilera have no plans to participate in
Pennsylvania's groundbreaking clinical research program, which is
designed to pair marijuana cultivators with medical schools.

"We're going to do a clinical research program on our own," said
Gardner, adding that Tikun's senior management is rooted in the
pharmaceutical industry. "They believe that on their own they can do
trials that are important within the existing structure."

Tikun already has licensing partnerships with growing facilities and
dispensaries in California, Delaware, Massachusetts, Nevada, Rhode
Island, and Washington state.

Gardner said Tikun plans to collect observational data from patients
where its partners operate.
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MAP posted-by: Matt