Israeli researchers to explore treating asthma with medical cannabis


( The Israeli-British cannabis biotech start-up CIITECH announced Tuesday that it will fund a research project in collaboration with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem exploring methods for treating asthma with medical cannabis.

Medical cannabis at Israel’s third annual CannaTech conference in March 2017. Credit: Adam Abrams.

The research project will be conducted at Hebrew University’s Multidisciplinary Center on Cannabinoid Research, and led by researchers Profs. Raphael Mechoulam and Francesca Levi-Schaffer. 

Mechoulam, a pioneer in the medical cannabis field, discovered THC—the primary psychoactive compound in the plant—in the 1970s. Levi-Schaffer is an expert in asthma research. 

The study focuses on researching the effects of the non-psychoactive cannabis compound CBD and identifying its potential inhibitory effect on allergic airway inflammation that causes asthma attacks.

“We know that CBD has anti-inflammatory properties and we’re looking forward to investigating whether this will be effective on treating asthma and related respiratory conditions,” said Mechoulam. 

“Most of the symptoms of allergic disease patients are controlled by either symptomatic drugs or corticosteroids. However, some patients are steroid-resistant and allergic diseases such as severe asthma have been labeled as unmet clinical needs by the WHO (World Health Organization),” stated Levi-Schaffer. “We believe our research will provide a novel and effective solution to treating this condition.”

In recent years, Israel has become a hub for the study and distribution of medical cannabis. In August, the Israeli government approved a new measure allowing for international exports of the plant.

Posted on October 24, 2017 .