The start of the Medical Cannabis revolution on the Maltese Islands

2019-12-18T15:30:07+00:00December 28th, 2019|Publications|

The Medical Cannabis Industry is a sector, which for years, has received very negative feedback by the press, thought of as a gateway system and for users to enter the world of recreational illegal drug usage. The treatment of ailments and other illnesses by means of marijuana dates back to ancient times, used by the Ancient Chinese, Ancient Greeks and Ancient Egyptians. The ‘magical herb’ as it is sometimes referred to, naturally contains properties that are said to relieve discomfort such as; chronic pain induced by Multiple Sclerosis and even the troubles of anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses that are on the rise in the 21st century.

From Maltese perspective, 2018 saw the enactment of the Production of Cannabis for Medicinal and Research Purposes Act take shape – a law that in itself caused amendments to the section regulating the medical purposes of cannabis in the 2015 Drug Dependence Act. Overall, the law provides legal measures that allows for production of cannabis locally for solely medicinal and research purposes – Up until now, the recreational use of cannabis remains to be illegal.

The use of cannabis for medicinal purposes has seen an economical and social change beyond our shores and countries such as the United States, Canada, The Netherlands, for example  experienced some changes within their general demeanour due to the legalisation of Medical Cannabis. Many states within the USA and Canada also allow the use of recreational marijuana, which may be sold through monitored dispensaries, shaping a whole new industry that creates more job opportunities

Locally, the Medicines Authority offers guidance information regarding to the scientific studies, including studies carried out on the quality of medicinal cannabis available in Malta. While the highest of measures are carried for the quality of the substance, there are a number of factors that locals may not be aware of. Especially when it comes to differentiation between recreational and medicinal cannabis.

What’s the Difference?

Cannabis Sativa and Indica

Split into two categories, cannabis comes in the form of sativa and indica plants; there are also hybrids that have been formed to induce both sativa and indica effects on the user – but these can be classed as a category in themselves. Sativa plants are used to treat depression due to their uplifting effects. Sativa blends are also known to increase appetite and are best suited for daytime use due to their high level of CBD. Indica plants are high in THC levels and therefore are best suited for night-time use. Indica blends produce a calming and sedating effect that allows patients of Multiple Sclerosis, for example, to have less anxiety and pain.

CBD and THC

While both CBD (Cannabidiol) and THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) are both found naturally in the cannabis plant, only one of these organic chemical structures causes a ‘high’ – THC. Due to this, legal structures, Malta’s government included, stray away from the introduction of THC products on the market. There are many debates that suggest THC products could lead to further drug experimentation, scientifically, this has not been found conclusive but the social fear is yet to be eradicated.

THC though, has no psychoactive effect on the body and is therefore renowned for its health benefits much more willingly by the legal framework of Malta and many other European countries. CBD stimulates receptors in the body that deal with pain, anxiety and inflammation; allowing for a physical and psychological benefits

That being said, THC is generally used for recreational purposes while CBD is used primarily for medical reasons. However, recreational use of the substance generally features both CBD and THC chemicals. Whilst medical cannabis features high levels of CBD and at times, small percentages of THC. CBD can be administered by means of oil;, edible delicacies and even inhaled through a variety of smoking apparatus.

What’s going on in Malta?

The Medicines Authority is the regulatory authority in Malta, which also provides guidance for the importation and wholesale distribution of cannabis products used for medical reasons. The comprehensive evaluation of regulated products must ensure good practice, security and detailed documentation of its distribution.

With the implementation of the Production of Cannabis for Medicinal and Research Purposes Act, Malta defined itself as the ‘medical cannabis capital of Europe’. Even though the laws were not revolutionary for European standards, the implementation of the above-mentioned act will aid patients and give them the option to use the substance for medical purposes.

At SMM Group one will find the legal backing that is required for a successful investment in medical marijuana to come to fruition.

Contact SMM on [email protected] or +356 21237167 for further assistance.

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