Researchers At Israel’s Rambam Hospital:  Cannabis May Help Severely Ill COVID-19 Patients

ISRAEL: Rambam Health Care Campus is leading cannabis research that could be helpful in the treatment of severely ill COVID-19 patients. Clinical trials have been scheduled.

Researchers in the Center for Cannabis Research at Rambam Health Care Campus, led by the center’s Director Dr. Igal Louria-Hayon, hope to study the effects of cannabis use on severely ill COVID-19 patients in clinical trials scheduled to begin in the next few months. Preliminary investigations indicate that several types of cannabis may have the potential to prevent the life-threatening cascade of inflammation in these patients. Information gathered to date indicates that a major cause of death in COVID-19 patients is the storm of “cytokines” released when the body’s immune system recognizes a new and threatening invader. This may result in an out-of-control inflammatory response which worsens the illness and can even lead to death.

Active components in cannabis activate an internal system in the body that has been dubbed the “endocannabinoid system.” Since the body naturally produces and utilizes substances similar in structure to the active components of cannabis, it may also respond broadly to the cannabis plant itself. A Biobank database of COVID-19 patients at Rambam will help facilitate research into the possible therapeutic effects of cannabis in battling the deadly virus.

“Cannabis has known anti-inflammatory properties, and we have been conducting advanced research on the use of cannabis to treat other diseases with widespread inflammatory responses. At the outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic, we directed our efforts and experience to join the world-wide battle against this epidemic,” said Dr. Louria-Hayon.

Dr. Louria-Hayon, researchers in the Cannabis Research Center investigated multiple cannabis strains, and they were able to narrow the field to about 15 species strains that appear to have the ability to prevent the intense inflammatory response experienced by some COVID-19 patients. “We detected signs that cannabinoids contribute to the sophisticated fabric network of intercellular communications,” Dr. Louria-Hayon said. “Intercellular communication based on cannabis-like substances also exist in the immune system,” said Dr. Louria-Hayon. “If we understand how cannabinoid components are used in intercellular communication, we can help influence this communication in the event of a disease, to disrupt it or empower the communication to convey desired messages.”

Dr. Louria-Hayon explained that in order to understand the mechanism of the effect of cannabis on COVID-19, researchers are drawing on inflammatory cell samples from COVID-19 patients. “For the first time in Israel, a laboratory experiment has been undertaken to explore the effect of various types of cannabinoids on the white blood cells of COVID-19 patients,” he notes. Each cannabis strain has hundreds of active substances, and Dr. Louria-Hayon stated that they want to examine the receptors to which these substances bond, the cellular messages that are communicated, and the extent to which cannabinoids reduce the inflammatory response. “We believe that we will be able to accelerate the pace of investigation and move more rapidly to clinical applications, due to access to the National Biobank at Rambam,” said Dr. Louria-Hayon.

The purpose of the study is to treat the inflammatory storm as it develops and before the patient’s condition deteriorates and a ventilator is needed. “We hope that by decoding the cannabinoid activity mechanism during inflammatory storms, we can treat COVID-19 patients where conventional drugs have failed,” Dr. Louria-Hayon said. “The uniqueness of our cannabis treatments is based on our understanding of the mechanisms of cannabinoids activity and scientific findings.”

Dr. Shlomit Yehudai-Reshef, Director of the Rambam Medical Research Institute, explains, “We saw the establishment of a Biobank pool for COVID-19 research as essential to securing rapid answers and accelerating critically needed research. Blood samples are the most accessible resource for continuous sampling—to understand biological processes during the disease and to develop vaccines and drugs.”

“At Rambam, dozens of COVID-19 patients have been hospitalized in recent weeks, from whom blood samples were collected for clinical and research purposes”, she said, noting that “despite the complexity and high risk, we found a safe way to separate the white blood cells, including the immune cells from verified patients.”

CannaTech Tel Aviv & PsyTech Summit Postponed

New Dates

PsyTech Summit: June 14-15, 2020

CannaTech Tel Aviv: June 15-16, 2020

ISRAEL: In light of developing circumstances with the COVID-19 coronavirus and based on recommendations from the Israeli Ministry of Health, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), CannaTech Tel Aviv and PsyTech Summit are postponed.  PsyTech Summit will take place June 14-15 and CannaTech, June 15-16, 2020.

Saul Kaye, CEO of iCAN: Israel-Cannabis commented: “Our number one concern is the health and safety of our attendees and speakers, our partners, our colleagues and our vendors. While we are disappointed to postpone both CannaTech Tel Aviv and PsyTech Summit, we are very confident it will be worth the wait.

“We thank our sponsors and attendees for their understanding and wish all those affected by the virus our very best. We are fully committed to create beautifully crafted events in June that will showcase the brands and solutions that fuel this industry.”

Tilray Exports First-Ever Shipment Of Medical Cannabis Allowed Into Israel

CANADA: Tilray, a global pioneer in cannabis research, cultivation, production and distribution, today announced it has entered into an agreement with Canndoc Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of InterCure Ltd., through its wholly-owned subsidiary Tilray Portugal Unipessoal Lda., to export a wholesale shipment of up to 2.5 tonnes of medical cannabis from Portugal to Israel. The shipment, which will arrive early this month, is the first medical cannabis import allowed into Israel.
  
“We at Canndoc are driven by the mission of meeting patients’ needs and improving their quality of life,” says Ehud Barak, former Israeli Prime Minister and Chairman of the Canndoc Board of Directors. “With a supply shortage of medical cannabis in Israel, it’s incredibly important to partner with a trusted company like Tilray to import and distribute GMP-certified medical cannabis to physicians, pharmacies and patients across the country.”
 
Brendan Kennedy, Tilray’s Chief Executive Officer, said, “To be able to import medical cannabis into Israel for patients in need is truly a historic moment not only for Tilray, but the whole industry.” He continued,  “We’re incredibly honored to help increase patient access in Israel while becoming the first to ship medical cannabis into the country. Israel represents our fifteenth export country and the second shipment from our EU Campus in Cantanhede, Portugal.”
 
Founded in 2008 in Herzliya, Israel, Canndoc is an IMCA (Israeli Medical Cannabis Agency) permit holder for the manufacturing of medical cannabis in Israel and is the country’s first public company in the field. Canndoc has been active for more than 10 years in researching, developing, cultivating and marketing medical cannabis to thousands of patients under a wide range of medical indications approved by Israel’s Ministry of Health.
 
Tilray has a pioneering track record as a company committed to making pharmaceutical-grade medical cannabis products available to patients in need around the world. Tilray was the first licensed medical cannabis producer to successfully export medical cannabis from North America and import medical cannabis products into the EU in 2016.
 
In addition to the Tilray-Canndoc Israel supply agreement and to further support the Israeli medical cannabis market expansion, Tilray has also agreed to purchase up to 5 tonnes of GMP-certified whole flower from Canndoc beginning in mid-2020. If future Israeli regulations allow, the whole flower will be shipped to Tilray’s Portugal facility and turned into GMP-certified finished product to distribute across Europe.  Otherwise, the whole flower will be developed into finished medical cannabis and distributed as a Tilray-Canndoc branded GMP-certified finished product in Israel to further support local supply needs.

iCAN: Israel-Cannabis And Headquarters Announce Strategic Partnership

ISRAEL: iCAN: Israel-Cannabis, Israel’s leading cannabis incubator and Headquarters (HQ), a Los Angeles based product accelerator and cannabis license holder with distribution and manufacturing facilities, have formed a strategic partnership to identify the most innovative Israeli cannabis companies and products, and provide them with access to the California market, via distribution, sales and marketing support.

Saul Kaye, Founder and CEO of iCAN, commenting on the partnership agreement said, “California is the capital of cannabis innovation in the United States.  Not only is the state America’s most lucrative cannabis market, with over $2 billion in sales a year and growing, it is the global industry trend setter. We are thrilled to partner with the experienced and forward-thinking team at the HQ product accelerator and bring Israel’s renown advanced cannabis technology and solutions to California.”

Daniel Abrahami, CEO & Co-founder of HQ, said, “We’re excited to be partnering with iCAN to build a cannabis bridge between Israel and California. iCAN has developed a world-class ecosystem of cannabis companies and is at the very center of all the amazing developments in the Israeli cannabis industry. Together, iCAN and HQ will introduce the very best of these cannabis innovations to California.”

 

iCAN: Israel-Cannabis CEO Saul Kaye Comments on New Israeli Cannabis Initiatives

ISRAEL: Kupat Holim Meuhedet, Israel’s third largest health maintenance organization (HMO), announced yesterday that it was opening an internal cannabis unit using a digitalized system that will allow for significantly faster medical cannabis approval for patients in need.

In the framework of the new independent unit, the family doctor will transfer the request of the Meuhedet patient with a recommendation to the unit within the fund, which will approve the request. The process will shorten the generally long wait that typifies the unit of the Ministry of Health.  As a result, other health funds are considering the possibility of setting up similar units.

“We congratulate Meuchedet on their forward-thinking attitude to cannabis medicine and breaking the barriers that currently exist in Israel for patient access. For too long the HMOs have been complacent in the long and complicated process of obtaining medical cannabis in Israel. I hope to see the next news that they are covering the cost of cannabis for reimbursement as part of the medical system in Israel.  Meuchedet is the most supportive Israeli health fund. They have the most doctors who understand the importance of medical cannabis treatment and have the knowledge to prescribe it,” said iCAN: Israel-Cannabis CEO Saul Kaye.

In addition, also yesterday, Israeli news organizations reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will support a bill tabled by Likud MK Sharren Haskel that would, in effect, legalize cannabis by allowing all Israelis to grow one cannabis plant for personal consumption.  Dealing cannabis would remain illegal.

“No one should be criminalized for growing a cannabis plant and using the leaves as they see fit.  This is an important step in the process of decriminalizing cannabis in Israel and I hope this legislation passes soon after the Knesset is back from its summer recess. I have worked closely with MK Haskel on all of her cannabis initiatives and wish her well in the upcoming elections as Israel’s true cannabis voice in the Government,” said Kaye.

China’s Thalys And iCAN: Israel-Cannabis Sign MOU For Co-Investment In Cannabis & Hemp Related Startups

ISRAEL: Thalys Medical Technology, a leading Chinese healthcare conglomerate listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange (603716.SS), signed a Memorandum of Understanding with iCAN Israel-Cannabis, Israel’s leading medical cannabis incubator. 

iCANN logoThalys and iCAN will come together to create a unique partnership to advance the development of early stage incubated companies that focus on the creation of medical technology, agricultural technology and general intellectual property focusing on the medical hemp industry.  

“Thalys and iCAN each bring unique strengths to this partnership, which is strategic in every sense.  Thalys will help iCAN’s portfolio companies enter the world’s most populous consumer market.  Thalys, which plans to co-invest in iCAN’s portfolio investments that address Chinese market needs, will have exclusive cooperation rights on iCAN’s incubated start-ups and we will have matching stakes in new investments.  I am honoured, humbled and proud to work cooperatively with one of China’s leading medical technology companies,” said Saul Kaye, CEO of iCAN.

According to the MOU, Thalys will have access to all early stage companies that iCAN is evaluating for investment, funding for co-investment, and access to the Israeli market.  Thalys will have the ability to negotiate exclusive rights with any and all of the incubated companies for the Chinese market.

Yicheng Wen, Thalys’ Board Member, stated “By pairing with a leading medical, agricultural, and technology incubator from Israel, known by many as the ‘Start-Up Nation’, Thalys advances its mission to serve the Chinese domestic healthcare market through innovation. We are excited to deepen the relationship between Chinese and Israeli entrepreneurs to accelerate the development of China’s new medical hemp industry.”

iCAN Secures Financing Through A Convertible Loan Of CAD $4 million (US $3 million)

ISRAEL: iCAN: Israel-Cannabis has announced that it has issued a secured convertible loan in the amount of CAD $4,000,000 to a group of investors led by Plaza Capital.
 
The principal amount of each Convertible Security, plus accrued interest shall be convertible, for no additional consideration, into common shares of the Company at the option of the holders at any time following the completion of a subsequent Qualified Financing and prior to the close of business on the Maturity Date, at a conversion price equal to the price per share based on a valuation of US $20M. The Convertible Securities shall bear interest at a rate of 8.0% per annum from the date of issue and shall be accrued into the note. 
 
Saul Kaye, CEO of iCAN: Israel-Cannabis, stated: “We are excited at the opportunities this financing round will create for iCAN and proud to have Plaza Capital join our solid investor base. With the success of CannaTech Davos and Panama so far in 2019, we are now well positioned to take our premier events to even more countries and continue to push the medicalization of cannabis around the world, with Cape Town already planned for late 2019. Our flagship event in Tel Aviv this week, once again sold out, and brought together the best Cannabis minds from around the world, showcasing Israel’s leadership in research and technology. iCAN’s unique position at the forefront of this exploding industry creates a wave of opportunities and this strategic financing will grow our iCAN:Serve and iCAN:Incubate portfolios.
 
Jesse Kaplan and Sruli Weinreb, Managing Partners at Plaza Capital added: “We were hugely impressed with iCAN’s performance and leadership at the recent CannaTech Panama event and see immense opportunity in their global positioning and pipeline of new technologies. Saul Kaye is front and center of the global cannabis economy and we are thrilled to support him and iCAN.”
 
The investment funds will be used to acquire and incubate cannabis-related businesses and anchor iCAN Incubate with a broad portfolio of new cannabis technologies. The funds will also provide an injection into iCAN’s conference platform CannaTech to continue to expand the pipeline of opportunities and extend the global cannabis footprint.
 
Shwergold Aharonson & Co. acted as sole legal advisory to iCAN while Plaza Capital was advised by Garfinkle Biderman in Canada and Yigal Arnon & Co. in Israel

CannaTech Tel Aviv 2019 Returns April 1-3, 2019

ISRAEL: Israel’s CannaTech conference returns to Tel Aviv, the global capital of medical cannabis —  a place where innovative Israeli researchers and scientists, high tech experts and “Start-Up Nation” entrepreneurs have fused their knowledge and skills with other world leaders in the industry to develop cutting edge expertise.

iCANN logo final

The main events will take place at Trask, in the Tel Aviv Port on the Mediterranean Sea, from April 1-3, 2019.

The cannabis economy is the world’s fastest growing industry, with an outstanding track record of research and development and a significant contribution to a vast array of medical treatments. Economists foresee the potential overall market worth of cannabis related goods and products in the tens of billions of dollars in the next decade.

Companies, entrepreneurs, researchers, investors and other stakeholders will meet at the CannaTech Innovation Summit to connect and learn about the latest opportunities in the booming medical cannabis market as well as the newest cutting-edge technologies and research in the field.

Saul Kaye, CEO and founder of CannaTech and iCAN-Israel Cannabis said, “Now that Israel has legalized export of medical cannabis, local industry and Israel’s research institutions, already decades ahead of any cannabis R&D facilities in the world, will flourish and continue to create global partnerships with countries that are witnessing unprecedented demand.  Israel will be helping patients across continents obtain the world’s safest and most effective cannabis-based medicine and products, and I could not be prouder that Israel and CannaTech are leaders in this ecosystem.”

At CannaTech attendees will hear from and meet the industry’s most serious thought leaders and market disrupters from around the world.  Topics will include Ag-Tech, Regulation, Medical Research, Investment, Media/New Cannabis Communication, Innovation, Hemp and Sustainability.

To learn more about the CannaTech Tel Aviv Innovation Summit, purchase tickets and subscribe to event updates and speakers lists click here.  To learn about iCAN, the Summit’s organizers,  click here for the iCAN website.

Global Science & Business Leaders Converge For Panama’s First Medical Cannabis Conference February 12-13, 2019

ISRAEL: The world’s leading cannabis researchers and scientists, ag-tech, pharma experts, regulators, investors, and entrepreneurs will share their knowledge about the burgeoning medical cannabis industry at CannaTech Panama, Panama’s first ever international Summit for Accelerating Medical Cannabis Innovation.

The main event will take place February 12-13, 2019 at the Central Hotel in Casco Viejo.

CannaTech-Ad-MJbiz1300x250

According to Saul Kaye, CEO and Founder of CannaTech and iCAN:Israel-Cannabis, “Colombia, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Chile, Brazil and Argentina are all going to have some form of medical program coming online in 2020 – maybe even 2019.  The Latin American opportunity in cannabis is huge. Over 500 million Spanish-speakers are about to be turned on to some form of either medical or lifestyle cannabis. That market is bigger than the US and Canada combined.”

Explaining why the conference is taking place in Panama, Kaye said, “While the cannabis industry will generate big business throughout Latin America, Panama’s economy and geography have given it a unique opportunity to become a key player in the nascent industry.  Panama is a tax-free zone known for logistics and production. I think those will be the drivers for Panama: both low-cost, export-grade cannabis for the rest of the world and a big local market as well.”

New Study: Children With Autism See Improvement After Treatment With Tikun Olam High-CBD, Low-THC Medical Cannabis

NEW YORK: Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) see a “significant” improvement in symptoms and less reliance on other medications after treatment with Tikun Olam’s Avidekel™ medical cannabis, as confirmed by a new study published in Scientific Reports.

The two-year study, “Real Life Experience Of Medical Cannabis Treatment In Autism: Analysis Of Safety And Efficacy,” followed 188 children (average age: 13) diagnosed with ASD. The patients were treated with Tikun Olam’s high-CBD, low-THC medical cannabis strains, which have been specifically cultivated and shown to provide symptom relief for ASD and related conditions with minimal psychoactive effect.

At the study’s outset, the most common patient symptoms were restlessness (90.4%), rage attacks (79.8%), and agitation (78.7%). After six months of daily cannabis treatment at Tikun Olam clinics in Israel, 80.1% of patients reported improvement of their symptoms, with 30.1% reporting “significant” improvement. Other key findings include:

  • Of 27 patients who had epilepsy, 24 reported improved or disappearance of symptoms;
  • 34% of patients decreased other medications; and
  • 20% of patients stopped using antipsychotic medication.

“Autism is a leading condition of concern worldwide, so this study couldn’t have come at a better time,” says Dr. Annabelle Manalo, PhD, Tikun Olam’s Science Director. “The data shows that autism patients can improve their overall quality of life utilizing a high CBD strain, and most importantly, that young users can safely and effectively benefit from medical cannabis.”

“With this study, cannabis is shown to be an effective choice for parents looking for the safest and most neuroprotective treatment.”

Side effects to cannabis treatment were minimal, with the most common at six months reported as restlessness (6.6%), sleepiness (3.2%), psychoactive effect (3.2%).