In a global first, Israel’s Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. and Tel Aviv-based Syqe Medical announced on Monday that they have signed a distribution and cooperation agreement to market a medical cannabis inhaler.
This is the first time the medical cannabis sector has complied with pharmaceutical standards for inhalation, which is the most efficient means for administering medical cannabis for pain management.
Teva, the world’s largest generic drug manufacturer, will be the exclusive marketer and distributor in Israel of the inhaler developed by Syqe Medical. The inhaler will be available for home use pending approval from the Israeli Ministry of Health.
The company, having completed several clinical trials, indicated that the inhaler is accurate and up to pharmaceutical standards for inhalation-based cannabis delivery. Syqe Medical’s technology makes only a structural change in the plant, preserves all of its qualities and provides safe, accurate and metered inhalation-based delivery, according to the Times of Israel.
Until now, the quantities of active ingredients inhaled from cannabis have generally been unknown. In the absence of precise dosing, cannabis could not be prescribed as a standard medical treatment.
The inhaler will allow medical professionals to prescribe an optimal dose of cannabis, alleviating the patient’s symptoms while minimizing the psychoactive effects. Another advantage of the inhaler is that it is a convenient and accessible option for patients who are reluctant to smoke.
At this point, the inhaler will be sold only in Israel, where the agreement was signed and where the inhaler was previously used in a hospital, reported Reuters.
The Syqe inhaler has been used for more than a year in Haifa’s Rambam Hospital. This makes Rambam the first hospital in the world to prescribe cannabis as a standard medical treatment.
Syqe Medical chairman Dr. Eytan Hyam, called the inhaler an “unprecedented development” for patients who need medical cannabis.
“Thanks to the Syqe inhaler, we are effectively moving from cannabis use to cannabis treatment,” Hyam said.
In 2016, Israel has issued over 23,000 MMJ licenses, Haaretz reports. Estimates are that they will double by 2018—significant in a country of only 8 million people.
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