A Flourishing $40 Million Medical Marijuana Industry Helps Israelis Forget – On a kibbutz south of Tel Aviv, medical marijuana helps soothe the pain of cancer patients and Holocaust survivors

By Shira Rubin

Holocaust survivor Moshe Rute, a resident at Hadarim nursing home, where he smokes cannabis daily to fight chronic pain.(Shira Rubin)

On a recent afternoon in Kibbutz Naan, near the city of Rehovot, Israel, Moshe Rute took a hefty puff from his pot pipe, with the blessing of the government. His hands stopped convulsing, and he drifted into the story of how cannabis had done for him something that no person could—help him forget. A “Holocaust child,” he said the memories of his past—of hiding in a chicken barn in his native France to escape the Nazis, and the later death of his wife—haunted him.

For years Rute, 81, had been silenced by his psychological baggage and unsuccessful at sleep. But in 1988, when he arrived at the Hadarim nursing home in central Israel, where he was prescribed medical cannabis for a cocktail of ailments, he finally “opened up,” he said. “When I was a child my imagination saved me. I was alone, talking to the chickens. What saved me here was the cannabis.”

 

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