Cannabis light

Recreational cannabis vs medical cannabis

Cannabis is a plant used to experiencing alternating phases: already used by the first populations of Asia, its cultivation was an important item in the budget of the USSR and Italy, it was used to make clothes and household linen and then, suddenly, it was declared illegal. From raw material to drug in an instant.

Then something moved, thanks to the many associations that for years have been committed to raising public awareness on the topic of marijuana use. In fact, cannabis has many qualities, which are decisive in the treatment of psychological disorders and chronic pain.

Today the fortunes of hemp have changed. There are two legislative provisions that allowed legalizations:

  • Law 462/2016 legalized the cultivation and sale of light cannabis, a variety of cannabis sativa that contains THC and CBD like traditional marijuana, but differed in percentages. However, since May 30, 2019, the sale of light cannabis inflorescences has been declared illegal following a ruling by the Court of Cassation , since the objective of law 462/2016 was to regulate the cultivation of industrial hemp as a raw material and textile fibre. Starting from May 30, therefore, all uses of industrial hemp not expressly mentioned in the law are to be considered excluded from legalization. The issue certainly cannot be said to be over and, to understand more, we will have to wait for the supreme court's ruling to be applied by the judges on concrete cases.
  • The ministerial decree of 9 November 2015 , which regulates the use of cannabis for therapeutic purposes . The Ministerial Decree 9/11/2015 was not the first provision regarding the use of cannabis for therapeutic purposes; for 10 years in Italy doctors have been able to prescribe preparations containing active plant substances based on cannabis for medical use, to be prepared in designated facilities. As already provided for by the Consolidated Law on Drugs 309 of 1990, the substance can be cultivated with the authorization of an ad hoc national body .

Cannabis light and therapeutic cannabis are two completely different substances , just as the laws that regulate them are different and the recipients of their use are different.

But how are light cannabis and medical cannabis similar and how do they differ?

The active ingredients

Cannabis light and therapeutic cannabis are part of the same family, but have notable differences , both in terms of effects and composition.

Light cannabis contains THC and CBD like any other cannabis plant, but the percentages of the two active ingredients are different from those naturally generated by the illegal plant. In fact, legal hemp could contain up to 0.2% THC , a quantity that excludes the occurrence of psychoactive effects, guaranteeing relaxation due to CBD and no other side effects.

Medical cannabis, on the other hand, contains a THC level ranging from 7% to 22% , and causes a very different effect compared to that of light cannabis. In fact, if light cannabis induces a generalized sense of relaxation, promoting sleep, therapeutic cannabis has a much less mild impact on the body, which instead perceives the so-called "high" due to the intake of THC in significant percentages.

The effects

Light cannabis mainly contains cannabidiol, or CBD , a substance with multiple beneficial qualities. Researchers continue to study its interactions with the human body, but to date there are already many positive effects ascertained by science.

The properties of CBD:

  • analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties ; reduces the perception of pain thanks to its action on the endocannabinoid system present in the human body. In fact, cannabinoids bind to receptors present in the brain and stimulate responses in different areas of the body , promoting beneficial neurological mechanisms.
  • anxiolytic properties; It has been shown to mitigate symptoms associated with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) . According to various research, PTSD is generated by a deficiency of anandamide in the human endocannabinoid system. There is therefore a close relationship between cannabinoids and symptoms related to anxiety disorders, which can be alleviated by taking cannabis varieties with a high CBD and low THC content.
  • Antipsychotic properties; Some scientific evidence suggests that cannabidiol helps treat chizophrenia and other mental health problems , such as bipolar disorder .
  • Antiemetic properties ; CBD oils can easily reduce this disorder, effectively treating rejection symptoms . CBD oils are easily digestible, do not contain chemical components and do not release the unpleasant flavors of normal antiemetic drugs, rich in antacids and bismuth.
  • Anticonvulsant properties ; CBD would be very effective in therapies to treat some forms of childhood epilepsy, including Dravet Syndrome. Studies are still very limited in terms of case series, but the progress made in this field seems promising.
  • Energizing properties ; known for its calming effects, CBD also offers energizing properties, thanks to its ability to strengthen the cells of the human body , contributing to their correct regeneration. It is also an excellent antioxidant, according to a 2008 study, even better than vitamins C and AND.

Medical cannabis contains both THC and CBD in high percentages . The therapeutic value of the plant seems linked to the way our brain works : the human body has an endocannabinoid system, made up of receptors that open and close, regulating the mental state, the immune system and much more. When the receptors remain closed due to a "malfunction" linked to a pathology, plant cannabinoids can be used to regulate nervous signals and restore the balance distorted by the disease.

Therapeutic cannabis can be used to treat chronic pain and pain associated with multiple sclerosis as well as spinal cord injuries; to nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy, radiotherapy, HIV therapies ; as an appetite stimulant in cachexia, anorexia, loss of appetite in cancer patients or those suffering from AIDS and in anorexia nervosa; the hypotensive effect in glaucoma; the reduction of involuntary body and facial movements in Gilles de la Tourette syndrome", as required by the Ministerial Decree of 9 November 2015.

How do you buy it?

Light cannabis, after being legalized with law. 242/2016, was marketed freely until May 30, 2019. Since legalization in 2018, shops dedicated to the trade of light marijuana inflorescences and derivative products have opened their doors in all Italian cities; on May 30, 2019, a ruling from the Court of Cassation changed things. The supreme court has established a ban on the marketing of all substances derived from light cannabis other than those expressly listed in the law. To date, the situation is vague and we must wait for the application of this ruling by the courts to understand how the light cannabis market will change.

Medical cannabis, on the other hand, can be purchased in authorized dispensaries, only upon medical prescription. As already provided for by the Consolidated Law on Drugs 309 of 1990, the substance can be cultivated with the authorization of an ad hoc national body. Since 2007 it has been possible to import drugs containing therapeutic cannabis such as Bedrocan, Bediol, Bedrobinol, Bedrolite, Bedica and Sativex.

Following an agreement between the Ministries of Health and Defense in September 2014, the inflorescences for galenic preparations can be produced in the Military Chemical Pharmaceutical Plant of Florence where, after an experimental phase of a couple of years, a genetic of cannabis called FM2 . The Ministry of Health underlines that, since these cannabis-based preparations do not have authorized therapeutic indications, «The doctor must obtain the patient's consent to the treatment and specify in the prescription the particular needs that justify the use of the extemporaneous prescription.

In the prescription, the doctor transcribes, without reporting the patient's personal details, a link to archive data in his possession which allows, in the event of a request from the health authority, to trace the identity of the patient treated".

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