Israel's medical marijuana pioneers look to cash in on $20bn market

Country has seen 500 companies apply to join ‘green rush’ in cannabis products after more than 100 studies in pharmaceutical use

In a small pharmaceutical lab in Jerusalem, a complex construction of rubber tubes, pumps and a brass pipe sits on a worktop. A prototype device, its purpose is to “smoke” cannabis to remove its active constituents and turn them into powder, with the hope that the resulting product can be used for pain relief in young cancer patients.

The Izun lab offers a glimpse of the ambition by Israeli researchers to corner the rapidly burgeoning new global market in medical marijuana, a market its proponents argue soon could be worth almost $20bn (£16bn) annually by 2020 in the US alone.

Related: New medical marijuana research could greenlight more uses in treatment

Related: Don’t smoke it with tobacco: scientists suggest ways to make cannabis safer

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