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Medicinal Cannabis

 

Section 10 of the NDPS Act, 1985 read with section 8 of the Act empowers the state governments to license cultivation of cannabis for medical and scientific purposes. Medicinal use of cannabis has so far been extremely limited and confined to alternative medicine such as homeopathy and Ayurveda. State governments have actually not been licensing the cultivation of cannabis. Of late, there has been growing international interest among scientists in exploring possible medical uses of cannabis. Cultivation of cannabis will not be permitted given its limited proven uses for medical purposes. Cultivation of medicinal cannabis  shall be permitted for research including trials of various varieties of cannabis.

Bhang is a preparation made from cannabis leaves consumed in parts of India at some festivals. As it is not made from cannabis resin or from flowering tops, it is not covered under the NDPS ACT, 1985. Production and sale of Bhang are permitted by many state governments. Whoever is so licensed to produce Bhang shall be allowed to produce it from the leaves of the wildly grown cannabis plants only. They shall not use the flowering tops or the resin produced from the plants. If anyone is found mixing with Bhang any part of flowering tops or the resin produced from the cannabis plants, he shall be punishable under relevant provisions of the NDPS Act, 1985 and if he happens to be a licensee, his license shall also be canceled.

Cannabis plant can be a source of biomass and fiber for industrial purposes. Cannabis seeds can be used to produce cannabis seed oil – a high value oil. Some countries license cultivation of cannabis verities which have very low content of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient which has the intoxicating effect. These verities of cannabis are used to produce fibers which are, in turn, used in production of fabrics and for production of biomass.

Section 14 of the NDPS Act empowers the government to, by general or special order, permit cultivation of cannabis exclusively for horticultural and industrial purposes. The Central government shall encourage research and trials of cultivars of cannabis with low THC content. The central government shall, however, follow a cautions, evidence-based approach towards cultivation of cannabis for horticultural and or industrial purposes and shall take decisions based on results of research.

Cannabis grows wild in many parts of the country and the world. Hilly areas with cold climates are particularly prone to growth of cannabis. Wild growth of cannabis shall be destroyed as far as possible by the state government officials empowered under the NDPS Act. Wildly grown cannabis shall not be permitted to be used for any purpose except the leaves of  wildly grown cannabis for production of Bhang. Cannabis seeds can be used to produce cbd oil and hemp seed oil

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