US researcher wants Ja to cooperate with Israel on medicinal marijuana
CANNABIDIOL re-searcher and investor Mark J Rosenfeld believes that, after resolving the issue of decriminalising ganja, Jamaica should cooperate with Israel in determining the medicinal and commercial value of the plant.
An American, who is the founder and chief executive officer of ISA Scientific, a company focusing on developing cannabinoid substances into legitimate human medicine, Rosenfeld points out that Israel -- where his company is currently carrying out its research -- is on the leading edge of countries allowing cannabis for medical use.
Cannaboids are chemical compounds secreted by cannabis flowers that provide relief to an array of symptoms, including pain, nausea, and inflammation. They include Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive component of the cannabis plant, and Cannabidiol (CBD) which is non-psychoactive.
Different cannabinoids have different effects, depending on which receptors they bind to. For example, THC binds to receptors in the brain, whereas cannabinol links with receptors throughout the body producing relief from various illnesses.
"Right now, nobody knows what's in ganja. We know it is going to be marijuana of some sort, okay, or cannabis of some sort, but what is the THC content of ganja, for example?" Rosenfeld questioned.
"In other words, the first step is to say, 'okay guys, let's look at the ganja and see what's in it'. Once we know what's in it, then we can compare it with what's in it elsewhere, and the kinds of experiences people are having with it, medically and even socially," he told the Jamaica Observer.
Rosenfeld, who was in Jamaica in May for the Jamaica Cannabis Conference at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona Campus, admitted that while here he heard boasts about the medicinal quality of Jamaican cannabis. However, he says that the bona fides of the plant would have to be tested to produce the proof.
"Then we can understand ganja in the context of the rest of the world. Right now its everybody saying, 'we got the best ganja', but there is nothing to back it up. Maybe it is, but if its real and it is true, let's do it," he suggested.
"I am now curious enough to want to do it. I have seen it growing here. Some people grow it one one, some people grow it another way. Some people grow it organic, some people use chemicals like pesticides, but who wants to smoke pesticides!" he added.
Rosenfeld was accompanied to Jamaica, by Dr Michael Dor, director of Israel's Ministry of Health's Cannabis Unit. A medical graduate of Tel Aviv University, Dr Dor is currently looking at cannabis chemistry for treating cancer, as well as neurological diseases like multiple sclerosis, psychiatric conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder, fibromyalgia, Crohn's disease, and cardia infraction.
Rosenfeld, who came into contact with cannabis while serving in Vietnam with the United States Marines, graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Master of Science degree and from the University of Utah with a PHD, both in molecular biology.
He is responsible for over 20 patents, and pending patents, in pharmaceuticals and molecular diagnostics, including some concerned with efficiently rendering cannabinoids into usable medicine.
The focus of his company, currently experimenting in Israel, has been to develop a system of oral use of the medicines produced from cannabis, to reduce the need for inhalation or smoking of the drug, which he feels strongly about. However, he explained that there is a major limiting factor to the use of cannaboids as oral medicine, as very little gets into the bloodstream when it is taken orally, which prohibits consistent, cost-efficient dosing and predictable therapeutic outcomes.
"When you swallow it, very little is absorbed into your intestines. When you smoke, it the bioavailability goes up probably five times or more. In other words, you get a lot more medication into the system through smoking, but you don't want to do that. You don't know what else that smoke might be doing to your body," he explained.