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Cannabis in America

Israeli Company Develops World’s Most Precise Medical Marijuana Inhaler

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In the 1960’s, an Israeli scientist, Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, was one of the first to discover CBD in a cannabis plant. Soon after, he unraveled the structure of THC, the psychoactive property of the plant. Now, two Israeli companies are breaking new ground, becoming the first in the world to develop an inhaler that will administer medical marijuana in precise, doctor-prescribed doses. Developed by Syqe Medical and marketed and distributed by Teva Pharmaceuticals, the inhaler is set to hit the market as soon as it’s approved by the Health Ministry. It has already been approved for hospital use. 

Syqe Medical, in a statement released Monday, said its groundbreaking product will “revolutionize the field of medical cannabis,” and “will allow medical professionals to prescribe an optimal dose of cannabis, alleviating the patient’s symptoms while minimizing the psychoactive effects.” Patients at Rambam Medical Center in the port city of Haifa have been using the inhaler for the past year, but now the product–the inhaler itself is a onetime purchase and the disposable cartridges last one month–is ready to hit the market.

Inhaling marijuana, in contrast to smoking or eating it, offers patients and doctors greater precision when ingesting and prescribing the drug for specific diseases. Other modes of ingestion are difficult to monitor and dose. According to a statement from Teva Pharmaceuticals, the world’s largest generic drugmaker, the inhaler would be the first in the world to deliver precise doses of cannabis. Plenty of people around the world use inhalers to deliver medical marijuana, but the doses are not measured or precise according to their diagnosis.

Israel legalized medical marijuana in 1992, and the latest statistics put its number of patients at 26,000, a number that is expected to double by 2018. Teva Pharmaceuticals, which is also one of the world’s top ten drug companies, said in a statement that its partnership with Syqe Medical “demonstrates the company’s commitment to improving the health of its patients and it is consistent with Teva Israel’s strategy of investing in — or partnering with — local startups and groundbreaking Israeli initiatives while providing access to innovative technologies and advanced medical devices.”

Editor’s Note: This post was updated on 11/29 to clarify that the Syqe inhaler has already been approved for hospital use. 

Alec Siegel
Alec Siegel is a staff writer at Law Street Media. When he’s not working at Law Street he’s either cooking a mediocre tofu dish or enjoying a run in the woods. His passions include: gooey chocolate chips, black coffee, mountains, the Animal Kingdom in general, and John Lennon. Baklava is his achilles heel. Contact Alec at ASiegel@LawStreetMedia.com.

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