Researchers in Lebanon hope to study medical benefits of cannabis

Lebanon is one of the world’s top illegal weed producers. Now, one of its major universities will be studying medical marijuana.

The Lebanese American University will be the first university in Lebanon to study medical marijuana. This week, the university president announced the foundation of the Medicinal Cannabis Research Center. Joseph G. Jabbra put forth big plans for medical marijuana research and de-stigmatization, suggesting it could bolster the national economy. Here’s a look at the university’s plans, and why Lebanese marijuana may be some of the best in the world.

The Unique Benefits of Lebanese Hash


Lebanon's illicit cannabis trade goes up in smoke amid Syria war

Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley is notorious for its highly lucrative cannabis industry.

However, in recent years the illicit trade has suffered due to the war in neighbouring Syria. As a result, some are now turning to another crop for better income.

Al Jazeera’s Imtiaz Tyab reports from Bekaa Valley.


Turning weed into wine in Lebanon

A cannabis field near a vineyard on the outskirts of Deir al-Ahmar in the Beakaa Valley, one of the poorest regions in Lebanon.

Sitting among the vines of Sauvignon Blanc and Tempranillo growing on his spectacular farm in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley, Michel Emad remembers the not-so-distant time when he opted to cultivate cannabis.

The retired soldier was not alone in this illicit trade: cannabis fields used to stretch as far as the eye could see in this part of Lebanon over which the state has tenuous control.

"Everyone used to grow hashish, that was what the market wanted, there was no alternative crop," Emad, a father of two in his fifties with neatly trimmed hair, said.


Some Arab governments are rethinking harsh cannabis laws

“WHEN we think about our future, our dreams, we have nothing,” says a young man in Sidi Bouzid. Life in the Tunisian town that launched the Arab spring has barely changed since the country’s old dictator, Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, was ousted in 2011. Unemployment is even higher nationally than before the uprising. Young people are worst-off, which helps explain why an alarming number join jihadist groups. The frustration drives others, including this young man, to use zatla, the local name for cannabis.


3 tons of Egypt-bound drugs discovered at Beirut port

Customs officials Tuesday discovered three tons of Captagon pills and hash at the Beirut port destined for Egypt, Lebanon's finance minister said.


Syrian refugees risk Daesh wrath as they farm cannabis in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley

In Lebanon's Bekaa Valley, Syrian refugees wearing scarves over their faces work in fields of cannabis plants. Migrant workers from neighbouring Syria have done this work for many years, spending a few months a year in the region before returning home. However, since the rise of Islamic State, this has become a task that could put them, and their family back in Syria, at risk of harm including death because working with, getting close to or consuming drugs and alcohol is considered a sin in Islam. "If Islamic State back home knew we work with hashish, they would cut us" with knives, says Aisha, 15.

A woman and a 13-year-old boy sift through the twigs and buds of the recent harvest inside a garage filled with green dust and piles of cannabis.


Syrian refugees farm cannabis in Lebanon

BEKAA VALLEY, Lebanon (Reuters) - Inside a garage in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley filled with green dust and piles of cannabis, stand a woman and a 13-year-old boy, sifting through the twigs and buds of the recent harvest.

They are Muslim refugees from Raqqa province - de facto capital in Syria of Islamic State fighters - and part of an extended family of about 25 that fled in the past few years to live in tents in the relative safety of a Lebanese village.

The 29-year-old woman, who declined to be identified for safety reasons, left two months ago with her youngest son, 5, to join family including cousins, second cousins and grandparents.


Escaping Syria To Harvest Hashish In Lebanon

In a village in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley, Syrians from Raqqa have been coming to harvest cannabis for almost a decade. Now, Raqqa is under Islamic State control and the border crossing is more difficult than ever.

One woman recently risked her life for work in Lebanon. Like the hundreds of harvesters in the village, she's not simply a migrant from Syria — she's from the ISIS capital of Raqqa, some 300 miles away.


Lebanon: Is it time to bring your bong to Baalbek?

MP Walid Jumblatt tweeted last year, “It is time to legalize growing cannabis in Lebanon.” His tweet did not pass unnoticed, especially with all the controversy it raised, while it received broad acclaim from hundreds of cannabis backers in Baalbek, in particular those wanted by the judiciary. They support his stance from a strictly economic point of view, as most of them only plant cannabis — used to make marijuana and hashish — without using it. Instead, they promote it or use it for trade.


Religion and marijuana: Where does Islam stand on marijuana?

This week we will be exploring the status of marijuana within the worlds major religions. We will look at whether usage is condoned or condemned. We begin with Islam, a close second to Christianity as the most popular religion globally.

Islam is the doctrine of the Muslim faith. Like Christianity, it's a monotheistic faith which finds its roots in the Middle East. Islam was revealed to the world by The Prophet Muhammed, sometimes referred to as the Prophet of Allah (the Islamic word for God). The holy text of the Muslim people is called the Quran which is believed to be the word of Allah, dictated verbatim by Muhammad; The Quran is sacred scripture and is followed with dogmatic orthodoxy by the Muslim people. 


Subscribe to RSS - Lebanon