Cannabis is classified as a dangerous substance and its use is prohibited; but, patients with specific illnesses may be eligible to receive a license to use cannabis to alleviate their conditions.
Target Audience and Prerequisites
- People who suffer from diseases listed on the Ministry of Health website may be able to get a license to use cannabis (see section 3.2 of the Ministry of Health "License for Cannabis Use" guidelines, for a complete list of circumstances for which one can request a license for cannabis).
- Patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment, immuno-therapy or radiology, people with Crohn's Disease, ulcerative colitis, AIDS (HIV), Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson's Disease, Epilepsy, Tourette's Syndrome, patients being treated in a pain clinic (such as Fibromyalgia) and people suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) may be eligible to receive a license to use cannabis.
- The right is not automatic and each illness has additional conditions that must be met in order for the patient to be eligible to receive cannabis.
- There are additional diseases that a request for cannabis use may be submitted (they are detailed on the Ministry of Health guidelines).
Who and How to Contact
- A referral to receive medical cannabis may be obtained in one of the following ways:
- Contacting a doctor that is certified by the Ministry of Health's Medical Cannabis Unit to issue permits.
- Contacting a private doctor who specializes in the disease for which medical cannabis treatment is recommended (the doctor will submit the request online to the Medical Cannabis Unit).
Stages of the Process
Obtaining a license from a certified doctor
- Contact one of the doctors certified by the Medical Cannabis Unit to issue licenses for medical cannabis. For a list of doctors see the Ministry of Health website.
- If the certified doctors decides to approve treatment with medical cannabis he will issue a license on the spot.
- Additionally the doctor will issue "delivery instructions" to the pharmacy ("prescriptions").
- There is a fee of 278 NIS for a certified doctor to issue a license.
- This is a yearly fee beginning from the date of the doctor's appointment (the fee is paid only once a year even if the license is renewed several times during the same year).
- For additional information see Finance Committee Announcement from 30.07.2019.
- Oncology patients can obtain a license from hospital oncology departments that provide this service.
Submitting an online request to the Medical Cannabis Unit through a specialty doctor
- You can contact a doctor (through the public health system or privately) who specializes in the disease for which medical cannabis treatment is recommended.
- If the doctor decides to recommend treatment with medical cannabis he will fill out an submit an online request form.
- The documents detailed in the doctors' guidelines should be submitted with the request form (for example a medical summary from the family doctor and a medication report from the HMO).
- If additional documents are requested, the patient can upload them himself through an online link that will be send to his cellphone (the number written on the request form). The patient can also perform other actions online such as updating his power of attorneys, changing his address, etc.
- After the Medical Cannabis Unit receives all of the necessary documents the request will be evaluated and a decision will be given.
- The decision (and the license if the request is approved) will be sent directly to the patient and the patient's doctor, based on the emails listed on the request form.
Request Approval and Receipt of Medical Cannabis
- The approval may be valid for a limited amount of time and differs from illness to illness and patient to patient.
- After the license is issued the patient can purchase the medical cannabis from a certified pharmacy.
- Oncology patients, children or patients with autism who have previously been licensed to purchase cannabis from licensed suppliers can continue to purchase cannabis through the current suppliers until 30.06.2020, or they can contact the Medical Cannabis Unit to request to renew their license and purchase the cannabis at a pharmacy. After the license is renewed the cannabis must be purchased at a certified pharmacy. For additional information see the administrative order from August 2019.
- Requests to renew a license must be made at least 45 business days before the existing license expires.
- The request should be submitted by a doctor in the field of the disease for which the treatment is recommended.
Co-payment for Purchasing Medical Cannabis
- The supply of cannabis requires payment which is based on the rates fixed by the Ministry of Health. They are updated periodically.
- Certain populations, such as work accident victims and those insured by the Ministry of Defense may be entitled to funding assistance for the medical cannabis.
- Hostile act victims may be entitled to funding assistance for the medical cannabis from the National Insurance Institute. For more information see medications for hostile act victims.
- It is recommended that even people that don't fit into one of these populations contact their Kupat Cholim to see if their health fund offers any funding assistance for the purchase of cannabis.
Request for a review (appeal)
- If the request for a license is denied, the patient can resubmit the request to be reviewed through his attending doctor.
- The request is submitted on a request for additional review form/appeal of an administration decision form and should have the following documents submitted with it:
- Medical information documenting the patients up to date medical status.
- A list of the medication the patient was given in the current year - provided by the pharmacy or HMO.
- The request can be submitted in one of the following ways:
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Fax: 02-6474810
- Standard mail: The Medical Cannabis Unit, The Ministry of Health, Yirmiyahu St. 39, Jerusalem, PO 1176, 9101002.
- After the request is evaluated a detailed letter with the medical staff's decision will be sent to the patient and the attending doctor.
- If the request is approved, the patient will be issued a license to possess and use medical cannabis that will be sent directly to his email and a copy will be sent to the attending doctor.
- For additional information see the government information and services website.
- A diagnosis of a disease prescribed by the Ministry of Health itself does not automatically give the patient the right to request the use of medical cannabis. The patient must meet additional conditions specified in the guidelines.
- As a general rule, the request of a patient who has recently contacted a pain clinic, only for the purpose of requesting permission to use cannabis, will not be approved.
- Additionally, patients who have been treated in a pain clinic for less than one year may not apply for cannabis except in exceptional cases where the request is supported by the director of the clinic and includes a detailed explanation from the director of the clinic as to why the case should be approved.
- For details on the conditions that a person needs to meet according to the disease he suffers from see section 3.2 of the Ministry of Health guidelines.
- Patients can contact the Medical Cannabis Unit with questions and for clarifications:
- Email: email@example.com
Laws and Regulations
- The Medical Cannabis Unit circular no. 106 licenses for cannabis use.
- Administrative Guidelines from August 2019 - license to use cannabis for medicinal purposes.
- Information on medical cannabis on the Ministry of Health website
- Policy Principles for the Use of Cannabis for Medical Purposes on the Ministry of Health website.
- Original translation performed by The Shira Pransky Project as part of a grant from The Fellowship Fund.