It seems incredible that in the XXI century the cultivation of cannabis is not allowed , this medicinal plant used since ancient times by the first civilizations (the Chinese used it about four thousand years ago), that its multiple properties are unknown and that, to be able to use their oil for medicinal treatment, thousands of families have had to make popular demonstrations before the authorities.
Paradoxical. Perhaps the confusion arises from considering that medical cannabis is the same as recreational marijuana: although it is true that they come from the same plant, their active principles and their applications are quite different.
“Although there are more varieties, two are the ones that are used more for recreational and medical purposes , cannabis sativa and indica, with sativa being the most common “, explains Dr. Nahuel Pereira de Silva (MN 114.307), head of the Clinic Comprehensive Epilepsy Institute of the Buenos Aires Neuroscience Institute, INEBA.
And he adds: “This variety has more than 400 components, with THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) responsible for the psychotropic and recreational effects and CBD (cannabidiol) for the medicinal effects .”
It was these curative properties that drove part of the historical events experienced in our country in relation to cannabis: in March 2017, after the issue gained popularity due to the continuous claim of parents of epileptic children, the Law was passed. 27,350 of Medicinal Cannabis, which talks about the cultivation and production of cannabis oil by the National State.
Said legislation was partially enacted in September of that year and until today there has been no progress in points considered high: oil manufacturing and plant cultivation and ownership.
Although this law allowed the Garrahan Hospital to begin to develop a research study on the use of cannabis in children suffering from refractory epilepsy, it leaves a legal vacuum and misinforms about the properties of this plant on other diseases.
“A lot of people around me use CBD,” explains Mike, the boy from Nevada. “They use it for different reasons: sleep, anxiety, pain … everyone is talking about it in the United States and, as the different states have legalized it, the debate about the effects on health is becoming a topic very popular. Imagine, I also give it to my 13 year old dog, and a lot more people buy CBD for their pets. “
Indeed, CBD derived from hemp can be found in any store and in any imaginable form: tincture, elixir, beauty product, gummy, shampoo, face cream, toner, intimate lubricant, lipstick. Strolling through an American pharmacy or supermarket without knowing the popularity of CBD derived from hemp can make anyone wonder if you are in Amsterdam then Cannabis Oil Amsterdam, and not in Boston. My car’s air freshener is CBD and it doesn’t smell bad either.
CBD already occupies a place of honor in any American pantry. Right next to the vitamin bottle, between the cereal packet and the protein powder bottle. The future and science will tell if it is a fad or will truly revolutionize the way we can handle pain naturally.
“In mental health, cannabis works for multiple conditions: autism, Alzheimer’s, depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, epilepsies with psychotic symptoms , “ says Dr. Celeste Romero, psychiatrist and researcher at the Center for the Study of Cannabis Culture.
And he adds: “Of course not just any cannabis and not just; it is important that people have medical support to carry out their treatments. But in these years that I have been researching and working on the subject I have seen all kinds of cases with excellent evolution, as well as others in which it has not worked . I believe that the best responses are given when cannabis is not taken only as a pharmacological strategy but rather as a stimulus to review habits and improve those that affect quality of life “.
Thus, families that need cannabis oil for the treatment of difficult-to-control or refractory epilepsies, pain therapy or other neurological conditions, resort to the illegal market to obtain imported oil or manufacture the oil themselves. “Every day we receive on our social networks hundreds of messages from people of all ages with varied health conditions that require information about this therapy, information that the State is not providing, since the medical system is poorly prepared to respond to this demand “, affirms Valeria Salech, president of Mamá Cultiva Argentina (MCA) .
“In our country there are few training spaces in cannabis therapies and there is still a lot of prejudice and fear on the part of health professionals, who still cannot prescribe it,” adds Salech, who also uses cannabis oil with his son Emiliano de 11 year old who suffers from seizures and has ASD (autism spectrum disorder).
MCA was established as an NGO in 2016 seeking to give a legal framework to an activity that was already being carried out: mothers, caregivers, growers and professionals from all areas were in fact using the cannabis plant as a therapy for health. “From 2016 to date, we have held more than 60 information and training workshops on cultivation, attended by no less than 100 people and up to 300 per meeting,” Salech continues.
“We are convinced, as experience shows, that we are facing a health emergency: thousands of people do not find relief in traditional Western allopathic medicine and need cannabis therapy, whose medicinal properties were recognized by the Argentine government: there is a report from the National Administration of Medicines, Food and Medical Technology (ANMAT) in this regard “
The MCA representative affirms that cannabis therapy is used worldwide for its analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, antivomitive, antispasmodic, anxiolytic, sleep-inducing, protective and repairing properties of nervous tissue, among others.
“Given its scope, and although there are no official figures of the people who would benefit from the use of the plant, at Mamá Cultiva Argentina we understand that it is such a high number that even the World Health Organization (WHO) had to admit that its prohibition was wrong, “he says.
Regarding the world panorama, Dr. Pereira de Silva contributes that “in the United States the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA ), the main regulatory entity, approved the use of medicinal cannabis for the treatment of Dravet Syndrome and Lennox Syndrome Gastaut , variants of epilepsy “. While Dr. Claudio Waisburg, medical director of the SOMA Institute (MN 98.128), explains that the Spanish Society of Neurology concluded that “cannabis seems to be a good alternative for standard treatments of refractory spasticity”.
And he adds: “Likewise, in another trial carried out by the Neurology Service of the Hospital Clínico San Carlos de Madrid, it was concluded that the oral administration of THC plus CBD achieves a clear reduction in spasticity and related symptoms (stiffness, pain, alterations sleep) in patients resistant to other treatments, for which it has been approved in several countries of the European Union, including Spain “. Does cannabis medication have adverse effects?
According to Dr. Guillermo E. Agosta, head of the Children’s Neurology Service of the Hospital Italiano de Buenos Aires (HIBA), “the side effects in patients treated with cannabis oil for the treatment of certain refractory epilepsies are usually mild and controllable and especially gastrointestinal “.
Within the scope of HIBA, the doctor says that “they use oils of Canadian or American origin since they are controlled by regulatory entities.”
Dr. Romero therefore recommends caution in cases of people with a history of cardiovascular disease, especially those who have suffered a myocardial infarction or arrhythmia. And he adds: “It is very important to take into account that it can lower blood pressure, so in general it is convenient to start treatment at night, especially in the elderly.”