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After A Decade Of Testing, Israeli Medical Cannabis Comes To The US

Avidekel cannabis products from Tikun Olam

Cannabis is still federally illegal, so while more than 30 US states allow doctors to recommend it, there is very little medical testing of the substance in America. In Israel however, medical cannabis has been legal for more than ten years and studies on the plant’s ability to alleviate the side-effects of cancer and ease other diseases have been published in medical journals. Now Tikun Olam, an Israeli company that has been studying medical cannabis for over a decade, is bringing their tested strains and proprietary genetics to the US market.

The company’s line of oils, tinctures, topicals and other delivery forms is based on six proprietary cannabis strains, and is currently available in Delaware and Washington state, with California and Florida sales coming soon. It is illegal to transport cannabis across state lines, so the company needs to find partners or build its own growing and processing facilities in each state.

Tikun Olam is named after the important Jewish obligation to “Repair The World,” and was the first licensed medical cannabis provider in Israel. More than 20,000 patients have been prescribed its products. The company has published information in medical journals based on observational studies it conducted and data gleaned from questionnaires. It recently conducted “gold standard” double blind clinical trials on cannabis use for children with Autism and published the results in a medical journal.

There is an overall lack of research, education and standardization on CBD and THC products in the United States said Dr. Annabelle Manalo, Scientific Director of Tikun Olam USA, so it’s hard for patients to learn which would be an effective strain or a quality product for their condition. Tikun Olam is among a very small group of companies that is selling a product “which is genetically identical to what has been tested” according to Chief Marketing Officer Stephen Gardner. “We aren’t saying our products are the only forms of cannabis that can be effective,” he said, ”It’s just that ours have been rigorously studied.”

In Israel, Tikun Olam has been testing 32 genetically unique strains of cannabis for help with cancer side effects, autism, Crohn’s disease, active Parkinson’s, Tourette’s, Fibromyalgia, and complex motor disorders, among others.

They are also studying more common ailments, like everyday pain among seniors. In a study of 900 patients, average age 74, 94% reported overall better quality of life after 6 months of using various Tikun Olam cannabis strains, such as Avidekel, Alaska, and Erez.

While the non-psychoactive component of cannabis and hemp, called CBD, is growing in popularity as an additive to food, wellness and beauty products, Dr. Manalo says studies have shown the presence of THC alongside CBD provides an “entourage effect” that may or “in some instances” be more efficacious than CBD alone.

The company is investing heavily in infrastructure in the United States. In California Tikun Olam’s facilities in Adelanto in southern California will cost $20M. In Florida, the company is partnering with Jacksonville-based cannabis cultivator VidaCann, to create vape oils, tinctures, capsules and topicals to offer through VidaCann’s dispensaries and via delivery.

Dr. Manalo said she is currently holding seminars to present Tikun Olam’s published research findings , to physicians and other medical professional in the states where the products will be sold. She and others from the company are also visiting dispensaries and creating materials to train patient advisors and budtenders. “We’re not competing with recreational brands,” said Gardner, ”We are introducing products that are backed by science.” Still the team has to be very careful about what claims they are legally allowed to make on packaging.

Gardner says he hopes Tikun Olan’s history of clinical research will translate to acceptance by the patient and medical community in the United States.

Medical cannabis imported from Israel, where its been legal and tested for 10+ years

In Israel’s Biggest Medical-cannabis Deal, Cannbit Buys Tikun Olam

$41.5 million sale comes after Tikun Olam failed to get permission to grow cannabis commercially

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In the country’s largest ever medical-marijuana merger, publicly traded Cannbit Pharmaceuticals said on Monday it was buying Tikun Olam’s Israel operations for a price that could reach as high as $41.5 million.

The deal came after Cannbit sharply reduced its asking price for troubled Tikun Olam, which is controlled by Tzachi Cohen. Completion of the sale hinges on approval by the health ministry.

Cohen is a global medical marijuana entrepreneur who made $255 million from the sale of MedReleaf, in which he had a 13% stake, to the Canadian cannabis giant Aurora last year. He pioneered the Israeli medical cannabis industry by founding Tikun Olam as a nonprofit in 2005.

Cohen decided to sell the company’s Israel operations after the Jerusalem District Court backed a ministry decision in August against renewing the firm’s license to grow the cannabis locally unless he ceased to be a controlling shareholder. Cohen was suspected of using drugs and of having underworld ties.

Medical marijuana is an up-and-coming industry in Israel, which has a long history of research and development in the field. The government approved exports of medical marijuana in April.

But excitement over the prospects for export markets shared by the government, which sees the industry as a way of creating jobs and generating tax revenue, has been dampened by worries that criminals will infiltrate the industry. Police concerns have held up export approvals.

Cohen had originally sought as much as $60 million for Tikun Olam and a 5% stake in Cannbit, which is controlled by an investor group led by Barak Orzen, and 5% royalties on future sales.

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The sides settled on a lower price, comprising $23.5 million in cash to be paid immediately plus another $18 million if the merged company reaches a market value of 1 billion shekels ($290 million at current exchange rates) in the next five years.

Cannbit shares were up 12.6% at 11.22 shekels in Tel Aviv Stock Exchange trading late on Monday, giving the company a market cap of 246 million shekels.

Cohen will also get a 5% stake on Cannbit as well as royalties equal to 3.2% of sales. Cannbit is expected to change its name to Tikun Olam/

$41.5 million sale comes after Tikun Olam failed to get permission to grow cannabis commercially