Mechoulam, Raphael. “Cannabis – the Israeli Perspective.” Journal of Basic and Clinical Physiology and Pharmacology (early view; online first).
Short overviews are presented on the historical uses of cannabis in the Middle East and on the more recent scientific and medical research on phytocannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system, with emphasis on research contributions from Israel. These are followed by examples of research projects and clinical trials with cannabinoids and by a short report on the regulation of medical marijuana in Israel, which at present is administered to over 22,000 patients.
Lewis, Nehama, Doron Broitman, and Sharon R. Sznitman. “Medical Cannabis. A Framing Analysis of Israeli Newspaper Coverage.” Science Communication (early view; online first).
Medical cannabis is a topic of increasing debate. To investigate this issue, we conducted a content analysis of Israeli news coverage of medical cannabis from 2007 to 2013. A deductive framing analysis examined three elite issue frames—medical, policy, and law enforcement. Additionally, inductive analysis revealed a a fourth, nonelite patients’ frame. Each frame was associated with a distinct pattern of textual elements, including portrayal of patients, references to cannabis, opinion about medical cannabis, and salience of scientific research. The most common and most stable frame was the policy frame. Implications for framing theory are discussed.
The use of the cannabis plant (Cannabis sativa L.) for the palliative treatment of cancer patients has been legalized in multiple jurisdictions including Israel. Yet, not much is currently known regarding the efficacy and patterns of use of cannabis in this setting.
To analyze the indications for the administration of cannabis among adult Israeli cancer patients and evaluate its efficacy.
Efficacy and patterns of use of cannabis were evaluated using physician-completed application forms, medical files, and a detailed questionnaire in adult cancer patients treated at a single institution.
Of approximately 17,000 cancer patients seen, 279 (<1.7%) received a permit for cannabis from an authorized institutional oncologist. The median age of cannabis users was 60 years (range 19–93 years), 160 (57%) were female, and 234 (84%) had metastatic disease. Of 151 (54%) patients alive at six months, 70 (46%) renewed their cannabis permit. Renewal was more common among younger patients and those with metastatic disease. Of 113 patients alive and using cannabis at one month, 69 (61%) responded to the detailed questionnaire. Improvement in pain, general well-being, appetite, and nausea were reported by 70%, 70%, 60%, and 50%, respectively. Side effects were mild and consisted mostly of fatigue and dizziness.
Cannabis use is perceived as highly effective by some patients with advanced cancer and its administration can be regulated, even by local authorities. Additional studies are required to evaluate the efficacy of cannabis as part of the palliative treatment of cancer patients.
Sznitman, Sharon R. and Nehama Lewis. “Is Cannabis an Illicit Drug or a Medicine? A Quantitative Framing Analysis of Israeli Newspaper Coverage.” International Journal of Drug Policy 26.5 (2015): 446-52.
Various countries and states, including Israel, have recently legalized cannabis for therapeutic purposes (CTP). These changes have received mass media coverage and prompted national and international dialogue about the status of cannabis and whether or not it can be defined as a (legitimate) medicine, illicit and harmful drug, or both. News media framing may influence, and be influenced by, public opinion regarding CTP and support for CTP license provisions for patients. This study examines the framing of CTP in Israeli media coverage and the association between media coverage and trends in the provision of CTP licenses in Israel over time.
All published news articles relevant to CTP and the framing of cannabis (N = 214) from the three highest circulation newspapers in Israel were content analyzed. Articles were published between January 2007 and June 2013, a period in which CTP licenses granted by the Ministry of Health increased substantially.
In the majority of CTP news articles (69%), cannabis was framed as a medicine, although in almost one third of articles (31%) cannabis was framed as an illicit drug. The relative proportion of news items in which cannabis was framed as an illicit drug fluctuated during the study period, but was unrelated to linear or curvilinear trends in CTP licensing.
The relatively large proportion of news items framing cannabis as a medicine is consistent with growing support for the expansion of the Israel’s CTP program.
- We examine the framing of cannabis for therapeutic purposes (CTP) in newspapers.
- We use quantitative content analysis.
- News articles generally describe cannabis as a medicine and not an illicit drug.
- Trends in media framing are unrelated to trends in CTP licenses.