Cannabis CBD - from illegality to recreational and therapeutic use.
"Something is happening in the cannabis and CBD cannabis industry. What seemed to be an industry constantly threatened by illegality is emerging with a new wave of legislation to which is added a growing number of countries. A movement that promotes new models in which cannabis has gone from being an illegal drug to a therapeutic and at the same time recreational product. An air of change that brings with it a new consumer paradigm and promises to change the industry forever. Renew or die, companies in the sector must adapt to these changes. However, this new model that distances itself from prohibitionist policies may prove to be rather complex. There are many fronts to attack and it is not always easy to have an overall vision: cannabis for therapeutic use, new varieties rich in CBD, cannabinoids, terpenes... What is happening in the cannabis world?
What is the current state of therapeutic use of cannabis in the world?
Cannabis has an important therapeutic potential which, for legal reasons, has not been developed and examined thoroughly. Since 1980, thanks to Raphael Mechoulam, we know that cannabis has very powerful anti-epileptic potential with minimal side effects when compared to other types of medicines already used to treat this disease. However, this development of therapeutic potential has not yet been provided.
In recent years there has been a snowball effect in which information and the use of therapeutic cannabis have become increasingly strong. There have been very concrete initiatives in some places, such as the marijuana law for medicinal use approved in California in 1996 or the case of Bedrocan in the Netherlands. Subsequently, this phenomenon has gradually spread to other countries. Israel is a good example, where there has been a very rapid and professional development of medical cannabis, aimed at meeting the domestic demand of the country. This information, at a certain point, has reached the mass media and since then it is no longer considered something morally reprehensible or legally complicated.
Italy, for example, despite having a fairly restrictive legislation on recreational cannabis, has had a very rapid and pragmatic development of cannabis for medicinal use, in part thanks to the fact that it has its own infrastructure capable of completing this development, we are talking about the military laboratory.
In this sense, Italy has added to the multitude of countries that have legalized cannabis on a medicinal level. A good example is Canada, the first G8 country to have legalized it at federal level, in opposition to the United States, where legalization has affected only a few states. Germany is also joining, as Uruguay, Holland, Israel and Colombia. In practice, we could already speak of an international wave of legislative frameworks that allow the development of medicinal cannabis.
Do you think the situation is changing?
The world of traditional medicine is accepting the potential of therapeutic cannabis. This is because its use is extending more and more obviously under medical supervision. In this sense, a documentary issued by CNN on the case of an American girl suffering from refractory epilepsy who made the world aware of the great potential of marijuana rich in CBD has had a great influence. To summarize we believe that a paradigm is breaking and this is a great benefit for the health sector.
How do seed banks face the new scenario?
Seed banks were born under the sign of illegality, in a context of illicit networks that has marked the genetic composition of cannabis: in a context of illegality, the production of cannabis has an additional risk that, like all illegal products, increases the price on the black market.
As a result of this price increase, consumers and breeders have sought greater power from the final product. This means that all the actors involved in the commercial cannabis process so far, consciously or not have tried to increase the THC levels of cannabis genetics, to satisfy a market that demanded high power and productivity. Always, I insist, following this context of illegality.
A time has come when the knowledge of other cannabinoids, such as CBD, has led to a conscience that, despite the high level of THC cannabis, has applications, both in the recreational and in the medical field, cannabis is something much wider.
This is what industry companies like ours have been discovering in recent years, there are other cannabinoids with important therapeutic effects and, although the THC has been given priority, the new therapeutic needs determine the new type of genetics of cannabis.
Do the future of the therapeutic industry and that of recreational use go handin hand?
The therapeutic needs coincide with the vision we have of cannabis in a legal mainstream market. For example, pure THC cannabis would be comparable to distilled spirits with a high alcohol content. Most people who consume alcohol prefer a light beer or a glass of wine against a 60 ° distillate.
The paradigm of pure THC cannabis is breaking up in two fronts: on one hand the demand from the medical sector asking for cannabis with other types of cannabis and on the other the new recreational markets that fall into a new legal context.
In a legality context there will no longer be the need to produce only high power cannabis and there will be many consumers who will prefer cannabis with a most sustainable effect. In this sense, CBD-rich varieties produce a much lighter effect, with lower side effects and therefore much more adequate to a legal context.
For this reason, there are two factors that converge so that our seed banks work towards a new direction: the creation of cannabis with therapeutic aim on the one hand and a recreational purpose that is moderate, sustainable, measured and standardized on the other.
"The therapeutic needs coincide with the vision we have of cannabis in a legal mainstream market”.
How is Dinafem positioned in front of this scenario?
There is a large market niche that does not consume THC cannabis because it is too strong. In a context where the market is located within a legal framework, creating the opportunity to consume cannabis rich in other cannabinoids means offering the public a much healthier and more sustainable product.
There are risks derived from the use of marijuana, for example, the consumption of cannabis during adolescence, can produce psychological and psychiatric problems. We believe that the creation of new cannabis breeds enriched with other cannabinoids (not THC) is a goal to enhance public health and reduce risks.
This same development oriented towards the recreational market is also valid in the medicinal field, given the breadth of the needs of the therapeutic sector: there are treatments that require pure THC, other pure CBD and other are combinations of both cannabinoids and even other cannabis compounds .
Since the product without information is useless, we want to educate recreational users and explain to them why consumption of CBD-rich varieties implies less risk, since they produce a more sustainable effect with less side effects. If we do such a thing, it would be like moving from consuming whiskey to consuming beer. Therefore, one of our goals is to try and transform the recreational market.
The other objective is to produce varieties designed for medical use, genetic of pure CBD. Thanks to this work we have established alliances with companies in the cannabis sector of different countries that are authorized by their respective governments and that can use our seeds under contract and in a manner totally regulated by law.
"We want to educate recreational users and explain to them why consumption of CBD-rich varieties implies less risk”
What are your predictions for the future?
Although medicinal applications of cannabis have been known since ancient times, they only came to the Western Pharmacopoeia in the 19th century. Later they disappeared from the map due to prohibitionist policies. Years later we witnessed his return. Raphael Mechoulam published a scientific document in 1980 in which he
demonstrated the anti-epileptic effect of cannabis.
In the last ten years there has been a "snowball" effect where development and research in this field have been significantly intensified. The discovery of the endocannabinoid system represented a turning point. In this sense, the perspective of future that we perceive sees an ever-increasing use of resources aimed at investigating the therapeutic potential of cannabis, in addition to the fact that we understand more and more, in all its complexity, the interaction between the multiple compounds present in the plant.
We believe that we are deepening a lot in this area and that, in the coming years, we will be able to decipher all this complexity. The consequence of this process, we believe, will be the birth of formulas each time more and more specific for the different types of uses that relate to different types of situations and contexts.