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Medical Marijuana Helps Elderly At Israel’s Nursing Homes

By on July 12, 2013
Moshe Rute suffered from nightmares and flashbacks of the Holocaust for years until he found cannabis.

Moshe Rute suffered from nightmares and flashbacks of the Holocaust for years until he tried cannabis at Hadarim nursing home – Moshe Rute is 81-years-old and lives at an Israeli nursing home outside of Tel Aviv. He is also one of 11,000 Israelis that are licensed by the government to use medical marijuana – a medicine that helps him forget painful memories of the Holocaust.

Rute was one of the earliest patients to receive legal cannabis after arriving at the Hadarim nursing home in 1988. Along with post-traumatic stress disorder, marijuana can be prescribed in Israel for Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, cancer and many other conditions.

Since 2009, the number of patients with licenses has skyrocketed from just under 2,000, thanks in part to groundbreaking research that is being done in the country.

Recently, 19 residents of Hadarim between the ages of 69 and 101 took part in a study that required them to take cannabis three times a day. After a year of treatment, the researchers observed reductions in muscle spasms, stiffness, tremors, pain and PTSD flashbacks as well as improvements in sleep and weight. The patients were also able to reduce their reliance on prescription pills by taking cannabis instead.

The use of cannabis is now encouraged at Hadarim along with many other nursing homes across the country. It has made a world of difference for both the senior residents and the staff that care for them. Inbal Sikorin, chief nurse at Hadarim, recounted her experiences to The Associated Press:

“We know how to extend life, but sometimes it’s not pleasant and can cause a great deal of suffering, so we’re looking to alleviate this, to add quality to longevity. Cannabis meets this need. Almost all our patients are eating again, and their moods have improved tremendously.”

Rute, the Holocaust survivor, says nothing can change his past, but cannabis makes it easier to accept.

“I’ve been a Holocaust child all my life. I’m now 80 and I’m still a Holocaust child, but I’m finally able to better cope.”


Medical marijuana is sometimes served mixed with yogurt at Hadarim. It is also given as powder, oil, vapor or smoke

Medical marijuana is sometimes served mixed with yogurt at Hadarim. It is also given as powder, oil, vapor or smoke.

 Rivke Holop, 85, prefers the yogurt preparation.

Rivke Holop, 85, prefers the yogurt preparation.

Another Haradim resident receives cannabis injections directly into his stomach

Another Haradim resident receives cannabis injections directly into his stomach.

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