HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Clinic Offers Puff of Relief for Chronically Ill
Pubdate: Sun, 6 Jan 2008
Source: Jerusalem Post (Israel)
Copyright: 2008 The Jerusalem Post
Author: Miriam Bulwar David-Hay
Bookmark: (Marijuana - Medicinal)


A Tel Aviv medical clinic has quietly begun giving marijuana to 
cancer and AIDS sufferers, legally and with Health Ministry approval, 
reports Yediot Tel Aviv.  The move, the first of its kind in Israel, 
is aimed at alleviating the pain suffered by the chronically and seriously ill.

According to the report, the clinic began giving the drug to 
suffering patients about six months ago. By Israeli law, marijuana 
can legally be used as a medicine if a patient obtains a special 
license from the Health Ministry. The drug is approved only for 
patients with cancer, AIDS or Crohn's Disease (a chronic 
gastro-intestinal illness), and aims to help ease the chronic pain 
they suffer from the illnesses or as side-effects of treatments for 
the diseases. The clinic - which the Health Ministry has refused to 
identify publicly, reportedly either to prevent protests or to keep 
criminal elements away - gives out the drug in small, controlled 
quantities when a patient presents their license.

One cancer patient said the ministry's decision to offer the drug 
through the clinic was "a blessing," saying it prevents suffering 
patients from being driven to buy the drug illegally. The patient 
said more doctors and the Israel Cancer Association should be made 
aware of the therapeutic, pain-relieving benefits of marijuana, and 
not regard it solely as an undesirable and harmful illegal drug. A 
spokesman for the cancer association said it was true that the drug 
could reduce painful side-effects for some patients undergoing 
chemotherapy or other treatments, and the organization would consider 
adding information about this to its website. 
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