Brazil has no scientific research on cannabis products, unlike Israel and Canada, which maintain studies at an advanced stage. There are several factors that need to be regulated. Researchers believe that Brazil has a good condition for cannabis planting and can be a global player in the issue of both cultivation and production of medicines and research of other inputs.
Five scientists from areas such as pharmacy, molecular biology, and agronomy have given technical subsidies to the members of the special committee examining the bill on the permission to use cannabis for medical purposes. In a public hearing on March, 10th in the House of Representatives, they explained both cannabis benefits to give more quality of life to patients of various diseases and the feasibility of planting cannabis on Brazilian soil.
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Cannabis planting advantages in Brazil
The researchers summarized the advantages of Brazil: an immense cultivable area and good conditions of light, temperature, and humidity. Unlike the colder countries, here it is not necessary to plant in greenhouses, as biologist Fabian Borghetti, one of the participants in the debate, pointed out.
“In Brazil, outdoor cultivation allows a richer expression of characteristics, which generates more diversified products. It would be the equivalent, to the expression used for wines, in the wine industry. Those who appreciate wines know that the place of production – the grape is the same, but the variety is different and the environment is sure determining for the organoleptic characteristics (color, brightness, and texture, for example) of that drink”, he said.
Biochemical pharmacist Euclides Cardozo pointed out that legislation already exists to punish deviations of purpose in planting, one of the concerns when discussing the use of cannabis as a raw material for medicines. The country has no rules for cannabis cultivation, those that can have psychoactive effects.
“As a society, Brazil has not prioritized the cannabis therapeutic potential until today. If to talk about medical cannabis, in the professional environment, many times the country is loaded with prejudices. Professionals, due to lack of knowledge, most of the time, cannot observe our country’s capacity to develop products from plant species,” he observed.
For Representative Luciano Ducci (PSB-PR), rapporteur of the draft regulation on medical cannabis use, the researchers’ information can help make his opinion a regulatory framework on the subject. He sees benefits for the country.
“Brazil can be a global player in the issue of both cultivation and production of medicines, research of other inputs, other derivatives of cannabis, making Brazil assume a very important role worldwide. The county has a very strong Embrapa, very strong agriculture, the research part,” he said.
Interest in cannabis-based medicine
Civil society representatives interested in regulating the use of cannabis-based medicines attended the public hearing. Like Rafael Ladeira, from Aliança Verde, an organization in Brasília that brings together patients, doctors, and researchers. He highlighted the advantages of this regulatory framework.
“The first is the possibility of scientific research of planting with specific chemotypes, which allow a more adequate treatment for each one. Another factor is cost, which is one of the factors but is perhaps not the main one. The main thing is that Brazil will get out of this illegality because today a mother or father or an association that cultivates in an unauthorized way is considered a criminal,” he said.
Quarantine in the country
According to the scientists’ report, if planting is allowed, the Amazon and Pantanal are two regions where cannabis’s suitability is low. Roberto Vieira, of Embrapa, also stressed the importance of establishing a quarantine in case the country makes the decision to import plants and seeds, a necessary measure to prevent pests and diseases.
The President of the Commission, Mr. Paulo Teixeira (PT-SP) and the rapporteur, Mr. Luciano Ducci, plan to hold two more public hearings on March, 24th and March, 31st. The final opinion is expected to start being discussed in the second half of April.
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First published in CAMARA DOS DEPUTADOS, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.
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