ISRAELI researchers are leading the world in highlighting the medical benefits of marijuana.
That was the message from journalist Helen Kapalos who spoke last Sunday night at an event on the topic hosted by Magen David Adom and the Zionist Council of Victoria.
She has recently interviewed doctors, patients and researchers in Australia, Israel and across the globe for a documentary that is expected to be screened later this year.
“This feels like the most important thing that I have ever done in my life,” Kapalos told the more than 200-strong crowd.
The journalist spoke about the largest human studies that are being undertaken in Israel, the regulated medical marijuana market in Israel and the black market for cannabis oil in Australia.
While not openly advocating for medical marijuana in Australia, she explained that if prepared properly and obtained from a reliable source, it has overwhelming benefits for some sick people.
“There seems to be some kind of positive response for everyone I have interviewed,” Kapalos said.
“I have had a hard time finding someone who hasn’t had a positive response.”
In Israel more than 20,000 people use medical marijuana from eight government-approved marijuana farms in the country. The farms grow legal marijuana with and without the psychoactive component THC, depending on the condition which is being treated.
Kapalos found out while working at Channel 7 that Australia’s unregulated black market saw some dealers taking advantage of sick and desperate people.
While some sellers were seen as heroes, tests on the oil showed in some cases that they were peddling regular canola oil.
Kapalos wanted to find out the truth about medical marijuana herself and set about making a documentary.
“I did a crazy thing. I went to the bank and told them I was renovating my kitchen.
“They gave me an $80,000 redraw and although it might have seemed a bit foolish I just got cracking.
“If I never saw the money again I wouldn’t care because this feel likes the most important thing I have ever done in my life.”
A report currently being prepared for the Victorian government to assess who would be eligible for a medical marijuana trial should be completed by August this year.
A trial is expected to follow shortly after the report is tabled in Parliament.
Helen Kapalos. Photo: Peter Haskin