Prominent orthodox rabbi Efraim Zalmanovich has officially declared that the use of medicinal marijuana is not only perfectly acceptable, but it also happens to be kosher.

However, Zalmanovich clarified that  “Taking drugs to escape this world in any excessive way is certainly forbidden” and would like to remind members of the community that the act smoking weed recreationally is unacceptable and not sanctioned in any way by the religion. That being said, if someone is utilizing the substance solely for medicinal purposes — to relieve pain or alleviate symptoms of illness — it is acceptable and even considered to be a “mitzvah” for those involved in treating the patient… Let’s just say that the details are open for interpretation.

Approximately 11,000 Israelis currently use medicinal marijuana. This statistic is much higher than any European country. “Israel distributes nearly 880 pounds of cannabis per month. The Netherlands in comparison only provides a small portion, 330 pounds, per year,” says Israeli Health Minister Yael German.