The Ganja Laws and Medical Research

There is a debate beginning to emerge in Barbados about how we can add value to managing our society by decriminalizing of ganja and pursue medical research. Yesterday’s Barbados Advocate adds to the discussion.

marijuanaWe suppose that it would be appropriate, since this region has been historically tarred in some parts with the dubious honour of being intimately involved in the criminal production and supply of marijuana to the rest of the world, that we should also be world leaders in research on the medicinal properties of that plant and its eventual commercialization as a remedy for certain ailments, rather than gaping in awe at the vast sums accumulated by some US jurisdictions in these same activities that, but a short while ago, their government routinely condemned, to the point of chemically destroying acres of plants in some countries.

It is to its credit therefore that the regional university has perceived the wisdom of this initiative, given the recent prompting of a Government senator and the subsequent call by the principal of the local campus for the current governing administration to introduce the necessary legislation to allow the necessary research to be conducted.

Indeed, it was not too long ago that we recall a CARICOM heads of government resolution, prompted by the Prime Minister of St Vincent & the Grenadines, to advance efforts to promote medicinal research in this area.

Nevertheless, every time there is a public call for decriminalization of the substance, we are to learn from officials of the need for further research, an attitude fuelled, no doubt, by hoary images of drug-crazed “paros” infesting the city streets as did the “assassins” (so named because they were thought to have been maddened by hashish) of long ago.

And few governments, especially at a time of popular distrust of current political systems, would want to risk their electoral chances on such a venture. Further, the important regional consideration of “how it go look” (to others) might serve to restrain even the more adventurous administrations.

Another reality to be borne in mind in this context is that the template from which the local drug law was taken does indeed permit the use of a controlled drug for certain purposes. According to section 12 of the Drug Abuse (Prevention & Control) Act, Cap 131, marginally noted as “Authorization of activities otherwise unlawful under foregoing provisions”, the Minister responsible for Health may, by regulations, “except from the offences of importation and exportation of a controlled drug, its production or supply and its possession, such controlled drug(s) as may be specified in the regulations, and make such other provisions as he thinks fit for the purpose of making it lawful for persons to do things that would otherwise be unlawful under earlier sections”.

Such regulations may secure, according to section 12 (3), “that it is not unlawful for a practitioner, acting in his capacity as such, to prescribe, administer, manufacture, compound or supply a controlled drug, or for a pharmacist, acting in his capacity as such, to manufacture, compound or supply a controlled drug.

However, according to section 12 (4), “if in the case of any controlled drug the Minister is of the opinion that it is in the public interest for production, supply and possession of that drug to be either wholly unlawful or unlawful except for purposes of research or other special purposes; he may by order designate that drug as a drug to which the subsection applies and subsection (3) shall not apply to that drug.

Clearly, the law already exists for there to be official authorization to conduct research into ganja and moreover, for its prescription by a doctor and its supply by a pharmacist should it be found to be of medicinal value.

All that is needed now is the political will and courage.


  • Well Well & Consequences

    So many people with medical problems can have their discomfort alliviated by the compounds found in this plant…..for those who ignore the obviou, through ignorance.

    “CBD, or cannabidiol, is quickly changing the debate surrounding the use of marijuana as a medicine.

    Most people have heard of a chemical called THC, which is the ingredient in marijuana that gets users high. But recently, attention has shifted to another compound in marijuana called CBD — and for good reason.

    Because while doctors can’t seem to look past certain side effects of THC, CBD doesn’t appear to present that problem. On the other hand, evidence of CBD’s medical benefits continues to grow.

    Here are five facts that you should know about this unique compound:

    CBD is a key ingredient in cannabis

    CBD is one of over 60 compounds found in cannabis that belong to a class of molecules called cannabinoids. Of these compounds, CBD and THC are usually present in the highest concentrations, and are therefore the most recognized and studied.

    CBD and THC levels tend to vary among different plants. Marijuana grown for recreational purposes often contains more THC than CBD.

    However, by using selective breeding techniques, cannabis breeders have managed to create varieties with high levels of CBD and next to zero levels of THC. These strains are rare but have become more popular in recent years.

    CBD is non-psychoactive

    Unlike THC, CBD does not cause a high. While this makes CBD a poor choice for recreational users, it gives the chemical a significant advantage as a medicine, since health professionals prefer treatments with minimal side effects.

    CBD is non-psychoactive because it does not act on the same pathways as THC. These pathways, called CB1 receptors, are highly concentrated in the brain and are responsible for the mind-altering effects of THC.

    A 2011 review published in Current Drug Safety concludes that CBD “does not interfere with several psychomotor and psychological functions.” The authors add that several studies suggest that CBD is “well tolerated and safe” even at high doses.

    CBD has a wide range of medical benefits

    Although CBD and THC act on different pathways of the body, they seem to have many of the same medical benefits. According to a 2013 review published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, studies have found CBD to possess the following medical properties:

    Medical Properties of CBD Effects

    Antiemetic Reduces nausea and vomiting
    Anticonvulsant Suppresses seizure activity
    Antipsychotic Combats psychosis disorders
    Anti-inflammatory Combats inflammatory disorders
    Anti-oxidant Combats neurodegenerative disorders
    Anti-tumoral/Anti-cancer Combats tumor and cancer cells
    Anxiolytic/Anti-depression Combats anxiety and depression disorders

    Unfortunately, most of this evidence comes from animals, since very few studies on CBD have been carried out in human patients.

    But a pharmaceutical version of CBD was recently developed by a drug company based in the UK.

    The company, GW Pharmaceuticals, is now funding clinical trials on CBD as a treatment for schizophrenia and certain types of epilepsy.

    Likewise, a team of researchers at the California Pacific Medical Center, led by Dr. Sean McAllister, has stated that they hope to begin trials on CBD as a breast cancer therapy.

    CBD reduces the negative effects of THC

    CBD seems to offer natural protection against the marijuana high. Numerous studies suggest that CBD acts to reduce the intoxicating effects of THC, such as memory impairment and paranoia.

    CBD also appears to counteract the sleep-inducing effects of THC, which may explain why some strains of cannabis are known to increase alertness.

    Both CBD and THC have been found to present no risk of lethal overdose. However, to reduce potential side effects, medical users may be better off using cannabis with higher levels of CBD.”

    Liked by 1 person

  • It will certainly make flying liat less painful


  • i am all for improvement and betterment but my question goes to financial cost and can the UWI who is cash strapped venture into such a vast area that requires plenty financial support to conduct and conclude the appropriate and necessary research and findings derived from the marijuana plant , in other words is the govt and UWI prepare to go the long haul and not having to abort this initiative in the foreseeable future after hours of hard work and substantial cost because of of a financial strain to taxpayers and govt.


  • After a lousy 2016 sugar crop, with a meagre 7000 tonnes sugar yield, I have never in the last 10 years seen so many pIantation fields being ploughed up. Is this in preparation for the cultivation of marijauna. Cause I doubt very much that the Minister of Agriculture is able to influence farmers to plant canes for the 2017 sugar crop since the dumbing down of the proposed Andrews super factory, and since some of them have been fooled twice into planting fuel cane, and wild river tamarind.


  • Taking the opportunity to highlight the fight by local lawyer Douglas Trotman whose wife is battling cancer and commuting to Canada to use medical marijuana to treat the illness.

    Douglas Trotman

    Yesterday at 3:16am

    Friends and Facebook friends…

    Kath had surgery yesterday… It was successful and we give thanks for that.

    You have read about medical marijuana refugees … A new form of exile due to the backwardness and stubbornness of the few who "rule".

    We thank you for your support. The fight continues in Barbados as we prepare for her "exile".

    I will be continuing the fight …. A few posts may become politically charged… This is necessary since the issue is a political one.


    Here is his Facebook Page – Medical Marijuana Barbados


  • My pseudonym rather nom de plume has many children and grandchildren and siblings, in my mind lol, my alter ego has less lolol.

    One very real sibling nearly died from asthma when I was in my teens, he used the wacky tabaccy and has never had an asthma attack since but his bouts with the hallucinogenic aspects of the item are legendary

    How can you call this?

    We legalized alcohol and look at the problems that has caused us based on recreational drinking, and therein lies my reservations, no one could see the effect all these years post prohibition and its legalization.

    Marijuana seriously impairs short term memory and it affects your paranoias big time.

    Man to man is so unjust and one can just see a batch of medical marijuana purposely contaminated to destroy a market dominance achieved by a West Indian strain.

    This is the type of reparations that Sir Hilary can fight and win to have a pilot advanced at the UWI for a Research Facility funded by the Government of the United States or other though, with his son’s history in JamJam he would be expected to take some flak.

    It would be suicide for a politician an academic, in his golden years, seeking to lead a different type of Reparations would be less likely to encounter such.

    Douglas, GOD speed the recovery of your wife


  • In response to the accusation from Senator Physical Deficit Ince didn’t Sir Henry Fraser and other at UWI, Cave Hill point to research being done at Mona which the other campuses will benefit/leverage?


  • @Pieceuhderock who wrote “We legalized alcohol and look at the problems that has caused us”.

    Maybe we will have to accept that prohibition is worse than legalisation.


  • Most of our decision makers are just ignorant of life and stubborn


  • Our magistrates have just remanded a 15 yr old to Dodds. What is wrong with Barbados?


Join in the discussion, you never know how expressing your view may make a difference.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s