Over the past few months, the medical cannabis industry in Isreal has been going through a difficult period: the reform that the ministry of health has tried to implement in an effort of bringing order has only contributed to general chaos, and many patients from all over the country are complaining of a shortage.
In cases where the pharmacy manages to obtain cannabis for distribution, there are still quite a few complaints about cannabis being available in only a limited number of varieties, that the weight of the packaging is inaccurate, and that the quality of the drug has dropped dramatically.
If all this is not enough – results have recently been published of urine tests taken from two different patients who consumed a particular strain of cannabis grown in one of the local farms, had shockingly displayed residues of synthetic cannabinoids (dangerous substances used to produce cannabis-like products).
“I felt weak and lost consciousness”
The first case was that of Doron Kleinberg, a 40-year-old cannabis patient from Tel Aviv, who has consumed medical cannabis for a few years now due to his fibromyalgia. Doron reported that he consumed a specific strain of cannabis, and after 5 hours he started to feel weak, and then he fainted, and was taken to the hospital.
In a urine test conducted after 12 hours of hospitalization, the hospital checked his urine and found no sign of cannabis residues. Instead, the lab results showed the remains of “Nice Guy” (the brand name of a synthetic cannabis substitute, which is very popular in Israel).
The Israeli “Cannabis” magazine has interviewed the patient, in which he insisted that he never smoked in his life – not cigarettes, and certainly not Nice Guy. He also said that he received the medical cannabis supply directly from the company, and consumed the drug via vaporizing using a “Mighty” vaporizer device, which is considered one of the finest instruments in today’s market. According to Doron, “Five hours after consuming cannabis, I met with a friend in a cafe; I felt weak and lost consciousness.
I did not eat or drink anything else after using cannabis and before fainting. Now I am scared. I have no idea what to do. I feel weak and without strength.” A day later, Vered Haber, a 53-year-old patient, was hospitalized after feeling weakness and fatigue. She told the doctors that for the past 4 days she had experienced dizziness and lethargy in the hands and feet, sleepiness, difficulty in moving, blurred vision and difficulty swallowing.
Her examination, like Doron’s, found the remains of “Nice Guy” – synthetic cannabinoids. She also claims that she did not consume any other medication and certainly did not smoke “Nice Guy”.
“Last year they sold us a medicine full of mold and pests”
The shocking news has naturally caused a great deal of panic among local cannabis patients, especially after the hospital that treated both of the patients has released a statement confi rming the fi ndings.On the other hand, the Israeli Ministry of Health issued a statement emphasizing that “all cannabis products undergo rigorous testing before distribution” – but this has not calmed the tens of thousands of patients in Israel receiving cannabis treatment.
“This news did not surprise me at all,” says Isaac, who has been a medical cannabis patient for three years, “the situation of the medical cannabis in Israel is a catastrophe, last year they had no problem selling us a medicine full of mold and pests – so why should they care if today they provide us with a medicine full of harmful chemicals?”The social network in Israel was packed with questions from patients who were afraid to consume their medicine and wanted to know what are the possible dangers and consequences.
Oops, my mistake
Only four days later, the hospital’s management issued another statement, declaring that there had been an error during the first laboratory tests and that after the two patients had been re-ordered to provide urine – the updated laboratory tests had shown good results of clean cannabis residue with no related substances.
According to a knowledgeable source, the reason for this unusual event was that the hospital decided to use a new testing method, which is actually considered more accurate – but it requires meticulous planning of the sequence, so that the smallest mistake during the test may lead to incorrect results.When the test was taken once again – this time using the old method, it was found no synthetic cannabinoids in the urine – meaning the initial test gave a false result (“False Positive”).
Following the findings, the hospital management decided to immediately restrict the use of the new test.
Needless to say, despite the hospital’s official announcement regarding the error, many cannabis patients in Israel are still concerned about consuming their drug, preferring to send the cannabis they receive for testing in independent laboratories.
However, it is important to note that a single test of a Cannabis product in a private laboratory in Israel will cost in most cases a minimum of thousand shekels (about 220 GBP) so that the majority of patients treated with cannabis in Israel cannot afford to pay for such an analysis every month.
Written and Published By Ziv Genesove In Weed World Magazine Issue 144
Title Image: Chronicpost1