Cannabis legalization and therapeutic uses around the world

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Aside from its recreational use, cannabis can also be used for therapeutic and industrial purposes. Here is an overview of the countries that allow medical marijuana, as well as details of the most common uses that are made of it.

Legalization of therapeutic cannabis in Europe

In France, recreational use of cannabis is illegal. We also continue to adopt a conservative position with regard to cannabis for medical use, although Sativex, a drug based on this plant, has been available on prescription since 2014.

By 2022, we plan to experiment with medical cannabis, on 3,000 patients suffering from serious illnesses, in several hospitals across France, in particular in reference centers for the pathologies concerned.

In Spain, the use of medical cannabis is legal. Cannabinoids, drugs derived from cannabis, have been on the market for a few years.

The consumption of marijuana for personal purposes is also tolerated, but within certain limits. For example, smoking marijuana must be done in a strictly private setting. Its consumption in public places is liable to penalties or fines of up to €300.

In Germany, a law passed in March 2017 authorizes doctors to prescribe cannabis to seriously ill patients who have no other therapeutic alternatives. However, it does not define the parameters that make it possible to classify the severity of the pathology.

The consumption of light cannabis is legal but with limits linked to the quantities held. Depending on the region, it is possible to hold a quantity of 15 grams in Berlin and 3 or 5 grams in the other regions.

United Kingdomfor about a year, the use of cannabis has been authorized for the therapeutic field but remains illegal for recreational purposes.

Italy, meanwhile, legalized medical cannabis in 2013, on prescription, for chronic pain and other medical uses (fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis or cancer, etc.). The duration of treatment cannot exceed three months.

Ireland legalized medical cannabis under a five-year pilot program.

In the Czech Republiccannabis has been legalized for five years.

In Cypruscultivation and domestic use for medical purposes was legalized in 2020.

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Legalization of therapeutic cannabis outside Europe

In non-European countries, the subject is less controversial. In the United States, 33 states allow the medical use of cannabis. In Australia, the use of marijuana for medical purposes has been legal since 2016.

Recently, Paraguay approved the medicinal use of cannabis, as did Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico and Ecuador.

In Russia, the country allowed fans of the 2018 FIFA World Cup from other countries to bring their medical marijuana.

In Asia, Thailand legalized medical cannabis in December 2018. Full legalization is not planned at this time.

In New Zealand, the country passed a law in December 2018 authorizing the use of medical marijuana.

Therapeutic uses of cannabis

Depending on the percentage of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), it is possible to obtain analgesic or relaxing drugs.

In Europe, the production of these drugs can only be carried out by approved pharmaceutical workshops and their marketing is done only with approved pharmacies.

Some Therapeutic Uses of Cannabis

Cannabis stimulates the appetite

Numerous experiments clearly demonstrate how cannabis helps in the treatment of eating disorders, by stimulating the appetite. A study published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders shows that cannabis has proven its effectiveness in the treatment of anorexia.

Marijuana is also known to reduce feelings of nausea.

Cannabis relieves chronic pain

Medical marijuana can be prescribed for the treatment of chronic pain. Moderate to significant relief of bone pain and other spinal pain is seen in 90% of cases.

Studies suggest that cannabis can be used for the treatment of headaches or fibromyalgia, to replace painkillers and anti-inflammatories.

Cannabis sometimes improves mental health

Researchers have investigated possible relationships between cannabis and many areas of mental health application. In many cases, there is a close link between the improvement of the patient’s condition and the use of cannabis.

Be careful though, depending on the dose, THC can cause anxiety or paranoia attacks, or even trigger a psychotic episode in predisposed people.

Cannabis reduces eye pressure

Cannabis also has positive effects for controlling or reducing eye pressure in glaucoma.

Cannabis treats eczema

Cannabis can be effective for the treatment of itching associated with eczema. Research published in 2005 showed that the daily intake of dietary hemp oil effectively reduces the symptoms of the disease.

Cannabis affects sleep

Research dating back to 1973 showed that marijuana helps you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.

Other therapeutic uses of cannabis

According to numerous studies, cannabis can have beneficial effects in the treatment of alcoholism or other cases of withdrawal from hard drugs. It can also have a significant impact in the treatment of certain forms of depression or phobias.

Other studies confirm that its use can be extended to serious diseases such as diabetes, obesity, Crohn’s disease and other chronic forms of enteritis.

Contraindications to the therapeutic use of cannabis

Cannabis for therapeutic use can only be administered by a doctor or specialist.

It cannot be recommended for adolescents and young people subject to mental alterations, as well as for people with cardio-pulmonary disorders, psychic disorders, renal or hepatic insufficiency disorders.

A cannabis overdose can cause depression or anxiety, panic attacks or psychosis. In general, side effects are uncommon and usually mild, but some disorders may occur especially in the nervous system, such as mood disorders, dizziness, drowsiness, allergies and other gastrointestinal reactions .

Cannabis remains a psychotropic and its effects vary considerably from one individual to another.

Its consumption is not without risks and must therefore be done under medical supervision, especially in the event of a family history of mental disorders.

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