Cannabis: medicine’s power plant


The huge medical potential of cannabis has been spelled out by one of the world’s leading research scientists.

Chronic insomnia, epilepsy and numerous cancers can be treated with compounds found in the plant, Professor Dedi Meiri told a business audience in London.

The plant has been a major form of medicine for thousands of years.

But, since the 1930s, cannabis was seen mostly as a “feel-good” recreational drug and its importance as a treatment for a range of conditions and diseases has been lost.

Professor Meiri, head of the Laboratory of Cancer Biology and Cannabinoid Research in Haifa, has 45-strong team carrying out ground-breaking work to rediscover the power of the cannabis plant in medical applications.

His Haifa laboratory is run by the Technion, Israel’s Institute of Technology, the country’s largest university. Technion provides the talent and ideas making Israel one of the world’s technology powerhouses with the reputation as the “start-up nation”.

Professor Meiri said that 45,000 Israelis already received cannabis under prescription after conventional treatments had failed.

His work, which began in 2015, centres on the fact that cannabis contains major properties or compounds called cannabinoids which have the ability to modify such things as pain, appetite and anxiety levels.

Humans possess their own natural regulators in the shape of endocannobinoids which balance and fine tune the body’s system. But these can need support when things go wrong

In testing the cannabis plant’s anti-cancer properties, Professor Meiri found that the cannabinoids in the hundreds of cannabis types react to tumours, such as colon, breast or prostate, in different ways. They can affect one or several and some not at all.

“There are 800 types cannabis producing many molecules creating different effects. Different molecules affect the body in different ways creating the various potentials for medicines,” he said.

“We are looking at eight different types of cancer treatment by examining these active compounds in cannabis. We are the only lab in the world with the facilities to do this.”

This research has been extended with the lab’s neuro-biology unit looking into cannabis treatments for altzheimer’s, sleep deprivation and epilepsy. Already, there had been a 37% success rate among epileptic children, some of whom had suffered from 80 seizures a day.

Professor Meiri concluded: “God gave us the cannabis plant. We need to take its use to the next level. We need to improve how we use it to improve lives.”

The professor, whose laboratory works in conjunction with cannabis growers and Israel’s pharma industry, was speaking to an invited audience at the Royal Institution – an event organised by Technion UK.

For queries and further information please contact:

Jonathan Metliss (Governor of Technion)

Jonathan Metliss (Chairman of Axiom Stone)

Technion UK 02074956824 (

The Technion drives Israel’s technology

As a world-class research university and Israel’s centre for hi-tech education and research, the Technion is central to its economic progress.

Technion graduates comprise the majority of Israeli-educated scientists and engineers, constituting over 70% of the country’s founders and managers of hi-tech industries.

Israel is now home to the greatest concentration of hi-tech start up companies anywhere outside of Silicon Valley.

Companies including Google, Microsoft, IBM, Qualcomm, Yahoo! and Hewlett-Packard have established their operation on or near the Technion campus.

The Technion has earned a global reputation for its pioneering work in nanotechnology, life sciences, stem-cell technology, water management, sustainable energy, information technology, biotechnology, materials engineering and aerospace.

This article originally appeared here in

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