How Israel is Taking the Lead in Medical Psychedelics

This may be surprising news, but Israel is quietly taking the lead in the world of conducting research on and using psychedelics for medical purposes. When you think about it, it is only natural that the state of Israel picks a lot of interest in psychedelics.

For starters, more than one in ten Israelis suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. That is a large proportion of the population and the government is keen to find ways to alleviate the symptoms of these people.

Furthermore, military service is compulsory and conflicts between Israel and some of its neighbors break out on a fairly regular basis. This means that the members of the armed forces see action frequently, and that comes with its fair share of mental health issues.

It is therefore logical to conclude that most families in Israel have had a close encounter with PTSD either through a family member who has done active service or someone they know has the condition. Add to this the problems faced by the Israeli families which live close to the border with Gaza. This section of the population lives under the constant threat of rocket attacks, and this state of affairs has taken a toll on the mental health of the residents.

Last year, Israel made news as the first government in the world to approve the “Compassionate Use” of MDMA-assisted mental health therapy in the management of post-traumatic stress disorder. Shortly after Israel took that step, the U.S. was close behind marked by the FDA’s approval of the limited use of MDMA therapy at the end of 2019.

But what exactly is “compassionate use”? Compassionate Use laws or programs are designed for the use of therapies without watertight science backing them. Such remedies are often restricted to patients who are deemed to have nothing to lose. For instance, when someone has terminal cancer and all the existing therapies cannot help that person, non-tested modalities can be sanctioned since the person has reached a point where they could die anytime due to their ailments.

The Health Ministry in Israel approved the MDMA compassionate use program as a way of fast-tracking the provision of help to vulnerable people in the community. The formal approval process is expected to take at least three years.

This program is targeting 50 patients and the cost is expected to be $1.2 million. The government is providing $500,000 and the rest will be contributed by a number of foundations. Studies which are ongoing in Canada, the U.S. and several other locations already indicate that a significant proportion of patients treated using MDMA-assisted psychotherapy report that they don’t experience any PTSD symptoms more than a year after they were treated with psychedelics.

Such findings have encouraged Israel to press ahead with its program, and they are looking to be a major player in the medical use of psychedelics. There is no interest in the recreational use of these powerful substances, and this focus is in the same line as what sector players like Pure Extracts Corp. recommend; that is, the use of psychedelics under medical supervision.

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