High Times Interview from Israel with Dr. Yehuda Baruch

A few years back, I had the distinct privilege of traveling to Israel to investigate their burgeoning national medical marijuana program. I toured medical greenhouses and met with several high-ranking officials in the field, including Dr. Raphael Mechoulam—who, in 1963, first isolated and elucidated the molecular compound now known as tetrahydrocannabinol (or THC), as well as several other key cannabinoids, including cannabidiol (CBD).

I also had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Yehuda Baruch, who, at the time, was the director general at the Israeli Ministry of Health Mental Health Center. It was there that Israel first began treating soldiers for PTSD and other mental disorders using cannabis—garnering excellent results along the way.

This greenhouse medical garden from CannDoc is a state-licensed production facility and located in Tel Aviv in northern Israel.

Today, Israel boasts one of the world’s most advanced medical marijuana programs and has become a leader in cannabis research and applications. Baruch left the Ministry of Health earlier this year and entered the private sector, helping found One World Cannabis (OWC), a pharmaceutical research and development company that is dedicated to helping governments and companies around the globe navigate intricate international cannabis regulatory frameworks. Baruch is engaged in the development of innovative and different cannabinoid-based formulations for treating different symptoms, aliments and diseases that are being tested with unique delivery methods, such as through the eye or nose in addition to oils, pills, etc.

I recently caught up with Baruch for a quick interview about OWC and the company’s projects, as well as his own personal hopes and aspirations for the future of cannabis worldwide.

Q: Greetings, Dr. Baruch, and thank you very much for taking the time to share your research and ideas with our readers!
A: Thank you very much for having me. I am very pleased to help inform people about the merits of this plant.

Q: Can you tell us a little about One World Cannabis. What is One World Cannabis? Is it public or private or government run? Are you the founder/owner? When was it founded?
A: One World Cannabis was founded in the middle of 2014 and is currently based in Israel. We are a public company and the Israeli subsidiary of OWC Pharmaceuticals based in the U.S. (OWCP on OTC Markets). We conduct medical research and clinical trials in full compliance with all international regulatory protocols for the development and improvement of strains of non-psychoactive medical cannabis.

Q: What are the primary objectives of OWC?
A: First, our goal is to identify what cannabis is good for, what specific ailments can be treated. Then, what strains can be used for each and why. Our next objective is to help in forming regulation on the cannabis markets and how best to instruct doctors and patients.

Q: What ailments are you currently working towards relieving? What strains are you looking at most?
A: We are looking at customized compounding of different strains to treat various ailments and diseases. These diseases include multiple myeloma, pediatric epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, Tourette’s syndrome, PTSD, Alzheimer’s disease, prostate cancer, diabetes and others, as well as, ailments such as migraines and chronic pain.

Q: You mentioned “customized compounding of different strains.” How exactly does that occur?
A: Via ethanol extractions used for compounding and concentrating strain elements.

Q: Do you use any genome mapping or gene isolation techniques?
A: No, not yet. We have not used genome mapping yet.

Q: So how do you test the efficacy of the medicine? Is it simply trial and error?
A: We are just now starting to run clinical trials with patients and strains. We are in the infancy of our trials. They will be three-month trials, and we are starting one next month with two more scheduled for this summer.

Q: But how do you know which of the dozens of cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids—and combinations therein—are responsible for each specific outcome in treating specific ailments?
A: Well, there are a lot of methodologies. Of course, there are the clinical trials on patients, but also more scientific techniques such as using cell cultures or in vitro scenarios outside the human context to see reactions. There is also systemic research using cannabis extracts, systemic to a patient or group of patients.

Q: If the hope is to create pharmaceutical grade cannabis, how will this be done? How will patients consume the cannabis?
A: We are testing various delivery methods. Smoking cannabis is not good because you do not know what you are getting or how much. Best delivery methods are dissolved tablets, sublingual sprays and so on. These make it easier to standardize and quantify.

Q: Are you going to synthesize these molecular compounds of various cannabinoids and terpenoids?
A: We are working with everything; natural cannabis, extracts and synthetics.

Q: Do you do customized compounding of strains via breeding? Is OWC currently working with any breeders or seed companies in this regard?
A: Yes, we work closely with two or three of the growers here in Israel. There are currently eight government-licensed producers. They customize strains according to our requests, and then we do the extractions and testing.

Q: What types of strains are you most interested in working with?
A: We are particularly interested in high compound levels such as THC and CBD, but we are also looking a lot at THC-V, THC-A, CBN, CBG, CBC as well.

Q: What type of research have you been doing in regards to cannabidiol (CBD)? Have you looked at the 1:1 ratio of THC to CBD?
A: We have some useful information in this regard from Bedrocan* and a belief of what enhances CB receptors best for CBD absorption. We use cell cultures of various cancer patients and infuse them with either synthetic or natural THC:CBD ratios—as well as various extract combinations—to see what happens to cells. And we find that too much THC such as in a 1:4 or 1: 3 ratio of CBD to THC creates a diminishing effect, a bell curve and more CBD is needed than THC.

So 5 – 10 mg of CBD is a good amount. Maybe a 2:1 ration of CBD:THC is better. But we also know that too much CBD can mean diminishing effects, so we need to research this more.

[*Editor’s Note: Bedrocan is a cannabis research, development and production company based in Holland that carries out the national medical marijuana program for the Dutch Ministry of Health. Bedrocan is also a licensed cannabis producer in Canada.]

Q: And do you find that it is the CB-2 receptors outside of the brain that bind to CBD most efficiently?
A: Yes, there is some validity to that.

Q: What do you think about terpenoids and their effects on humans?
A: Yes, we want to get into terpenoids. We are still pinpointing what we want to study there and should have that figured out by the end of this year. Those are harder to supply us with at the moment.

Q: What are the best uses you have discovered, personally, for cannabis?
A: I used it once in Holland, but I didn’t like it. I believe it is best suited as a medicine. A very good medicine.

Q: What is your hope for the future of cannabis?
A: For medical purposes, cannabis should be legal. But using medicine must be regulated, and I am very interested in both the quality and measurements and dosage of medicine. So I believe in standardizing cannabis via medical legislation.

I also hope that governments put cannabis production into the hands of professionals, so that quality can be assured.

Thank you to Dr. Yehuda Baruch for this interview and best of luck to him and his whole team at One World Cannabis. We wish them the best and hope they will keep us—and the rest of the world—apprised of their research and findings. The world needs more right-minded work like this!

Thanks for reading everyone and remember: Grow… And help the world grow, too!

Got questions? Email ‘em over to Nico at Edit.Grow@hightimes.com and be sure to put “Nico’s Nuggets” in the subject line! 

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