Saturday , May 21 2022

Therapeutic cannabis: from illegal medicine to a promising industry in Argentina


The recent legalization of cannabis self-treatment for therapeutic use in Argentina “returns the smile” to users of this medicine and to those committed to the development of this job-generating and foreign exchange industry.

“We fight because we know what the marijuana plant can do. It improves the quality of life so much! The first thing it achieves is a smile in those of us who There is no other medicine on the pharmaceutical market that gives you a smile “, she told AFP Valeria Salech, founder of the NGO Mamá Cultiva in Argentina, which was inspired by her partner in Chile.

Her 14-year-old son Emiliano was diagnosed with epilepsy and autism. Since she was a baby, she had repeated nightly seizures and was told to use cannabis to treat epilepsy. Faced with the “no absolute” face of the neurologist who treated her son, Valeria did not give up. Emiliano started taking cannabis recine at the age of 8. Everything improved.

According to Salech, cannabis achieves in epilepsy what no other medicine has: “It prevents seizures the moment they occur,” he explains.

“What I regret is that it wasted time. It was very painful. My anger was that they didn’t give me the possibility to choose. At Mamá Cultiva we make sure no one else arrives late to the this medicine, “said Salech, who has been growing cannabis for years. before it is legal to do so.

– Paradigm shift –

Last month, President Alberto Fernández (left-center Peronist) legalized by decree growing marijuana for therapeutic use, as well as selling cannabis-based oils and creams in pharmacies and owning seeds individually or in groups, among other points.

“The new regulation took away a lot of people’s fears. We went from receiving 30 messages a day to 30 an hour,” said leader Mamá Cultiva.

Valeria Rivera’s house terrace in Buenos Aires is full of plants, many of which are marijuana that she, a supportive handler, makes cannabis oils and infusions.

Rivera also calls for the legalization of recreational use of marijuana, in a country where possession is still punishable by 4 to 15 years in prison.

“There’s a long way to go until all of its uses are released, until marijuana is decriminalized,” he said.

The presidential decree goes further than the law approved in 2017, during Mauricio Macri’s government (2015-2019), which, while enabling scientific research, did not authorize cultivation or sale and restrict consumption to refractory epilepsy.

– Employment and currency –

In response to such a demand, Congresswoman Carolina Gaillard in November pressed a bill that seeks to provide a “comprehensive legal framework with a productive profile” for medicinal cannabis.

It is seeking to create an Institute for Cannabis Regulation which is responsible for issuing licenses and licenses to cultivate, produce, commercialize and export as well as designing public policies for training and research.

“The development of the cannabis industry for health can be a good way of generating employment and foreign exchange and is the only way to guarantee access to treatment for all,” said Gaillard, who ensures his project has the support of the Executive. .

According to the legislator, which proposes to stop considering cannabis as a narcotic, this industry has the potential to create “350,000 jobs nationwide.”

Jujuy province (north) already has a pilot growing scheme on 35 hectares and a lab that has just introduced Argentina’s first medicinal cannabis product.

The states of San Juan, Mendoza, Corrientes, La Rioja and Entre Ríos also expressed their interest.

– Falling in love again –

According to neuroscientist Silvia Kochen, cannabis is used not only in epilepsy – its specialty – but also in spasticity, in degenerative diseases, it helps relieve pain and fight insomnia, among other properties.

“There are patients who lived through suffering because of pain, were dependent on morphine. With cannabis oil, they lived differently, they ate, they fell in love again,” said this Council researcher National Center for Scientific and Technical Research (Conicet) and coordinator of the National Medical Cannabis Network.

Conicet seeks to “contribute on a large scale, promoting good growing, production and consumption practices,” he said at El Cruce Hospital High Quality Technological Service laboratory, 25 km from Buenos Aires.

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