Facts and myths about marijuana fuel an ongoing debate about its use throughout the world. Pot proponents working in Israel are quick to debunk risks associated with the drug's use, noting the ongoing discoveries of medicinal benefits for many users.
Many of those from the scientific community urge more study rather than condemnation of harmful effects, noting the importance of research in debunking myths.
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"Cannabis, as a whole plant, is very, very useful. We need to understand it better, understand whether or not some of the compounds by themselves are beneficial or if they all need to work together to be beneficial. It’s not well-understood," Dr. Alan Shackelford, a U.S. doctor who is working with Israel on its medical marijuana program, told Haaretz
“There’s definitely a medical benefit, and it’s not highly addictive, and the abuse potential is there. But the abuse potential is there for legal pharmaceuticals, like narcotic pain medicine," Shackelford said. "And the abuse of narcotics can be dangerous, because people die from overdoses of narcotics. No one has ever died of a cannabis overdose.”
The elder statesman of marijuana research in Israel also touts its virtues, and notes his country's freedom to study those more.
“I believe that the cannabinoids represent a medicinal treasure trove which waits to be discovered,” Hebrew University Professor Raphael Mechoulam told online news magazine ISRAEL21c
Mechoulam began study of the properties of cannabis in the 1960s and has led Israel to the forefront of such study around the world.
There are more than 480 components of the cannabis plant, and 66 are classified as cannabinoids, CNN reported
. Research on these compounds and their effects continues. Mechoulam said the medicinal benefits of the plant may be more effective when used together with the whole plant, rather than isolated.
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