By / July 4, 2020

The University of Buenos Aires is leading research with high-quality cannabis

One of the research teams from the University of Buenos Aires (UBA) announced that it was able to import a top quality sample of cannabidiol isolate, more known as CBD, registered in the country of origin and with perfect traceability. 

That was made possible thanks to an agreement between the Canadian biotechnology company Avicanna and the Institute of Chemistry and Drug Metabolism (Iquimefa) of the Faculty of Pharmacy and Biochemistry of the University of Buenos Aires.

The leader of this research team, Albertina Moglioni, marks it as an “historic” agreement of academic cooperation in the field of medical cannabis, that will help in the thorough characterization of the properties of each of the components of cannabis.

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This research could help better understand the properties of cannabis

“Anyone who talks about cannabis claims that it is the first medical substance used in the history of mankind, yet it is still being studied to understand the various effects it produces on different receptors,” the specialist explained.

For this reason, together with the chair of Pharmacognosy, the discipline within pharmaceutical sciences that researches active principles of plant origin, “we presented a project that could unite efforts and knowledge to study and work with cannabis,” said Moglioni.

One of the main objectives of the project is “to be able to carry out a complete monograph of cannabis so that Anmat can regulate its use” and to incorporate it into the pharmacopeia, which is the official code where drugs and medicines are described and where the origin, preparation, evaluation and other conditions that ensure the uniformity and quality of their properties are specified.

Cannabis has been a debated topic in Argentina since 2017

In March 2017, Congress approved the law on research into the medical use of cannabis and its production. In September, when the law was regulated (27,350), its study was limited to the treatment of refractory epilepsy.

Only at the end of 2018, the National Program for the Study and Investigation of the Medical Use of Cannabis Plant and its Derivatives and Non-Conventional Treatments, created by the law, authorized the Pedro Garrahan Pediatric Hospital to carry out the first clinical trial at the expense of the State, in 100 patients diagnosed with refractory epilepsy.

In late March, after “following very rigorous protocols,” Iquimefa was able to import a 10-gram sample of the highest purity CBD isolate from Colombia, where the Canadian company has one of its laboratories and seed plots.

“We had to get a lot of certificates and permits to be able to import this type of sample, called a controlled substance,” Moglioni said.

The research will have various approaches and will help investigate the potential of cannabis

For her part, Catalina María Van Baren, associate professor of pharmacognosy, said that the work carried out by the institute has “various approaches, the epidemiological, pharmacological, pharmaco-technical and physiological,” but that “we all take cannabis as a medicine and will see and investigate its potential.”

“In addition to cannabinoids, there are other compounds that have an incidence or modulate other effects that in turn trigger results in others.” the biochemist said.

Moreover, she added that “to give it a focus as a medicine we have to ensure that it is non-toxic, ensure a quality product and make a pharmacopeia proposal”, that is to say, provide “all the information” about the assets of cannabis, minimum and maximum proportions of each compound and its effects.

Van Baren also stated that the research carried out by the team has a “social focus” because “there is a lot of uncertainty both from doctors who sometimes do not know how to prescribe” the use of cannabis “and from patients who do not know what they are taking.”

“We were approached with products that are marketed and we have found many that in many cases do not have the properties they claim: products with microbial agents; with heavy metal contamination or that directly have a sub-therapeutic dose,” the biochemist said, stressing the importance of establishing “quality standards” and that “the authorities regulate this situation.”


(Featured image by Sander Crombach via Unsplash)

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