by Curlan Campbell
- Last year, Minister for Agriculture informed that government is prepared to stage public consultations on marijuana decriminalisation
- Government accused of dragging their feet
- Rasta community, Grenada Herbal Foundation and regular citizens want input into that bill
- University of South Carolina researching various properties of cannabis extracts
With no end in sight to the spread of the Covid-19, experts are currently researching medicinal benefits that can be harnessed from cannabis as a means of treating complications of the coronavirus.
Using cannabis to treat symptoms of Covid-19 comes at a time where many countries are softening laws that criminalise its use. Researchers from the University of South Carolina have shifted their focus to researching the benefits of Cannabidiol (CBD) extract which is known to have anti-inflammatory properties which can be used to treat Covid-19 symptoms such as pneumonia, while Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) could help prevent harmful immune responses that causes Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS).
In Grenada, Syisha Williams of the Grenada Herbal Foundation and a well-known cannabis activist, is eagerly anticipating the start of the consultative process. He said it is high time that we start the process amidst the continued spread of the virus.
Last year, newly appointed Minister for Agriculture Peter David informed the nation that the government is prepared to stage public consultations to gather feedback on the legislative changes necessary to see that marijuana is decriminalised. Minister David indicated that he leads a 3-member Cabinet committee which is tasked to review regional and international treaties to help guide the process.
However, Williams fears that the government might be dragging their feet on this important issue, especially at a time where experts are researching ways the cannabis plant can be utilised to treat the coronavirus. “I would like to see that process expedited,” Williams said. “If we had started the process already maybe we could have done something by now to even have research going on into the legitimacy of whether or not cannabis can be used to treat it, so it will be nice to see that we move on that”.
Williams believes the Grenada Herbal Foundation can be instrumental to this consultative process and continues to stress the need for ordinary people, especially Rastafarians to have input into the legislative process. “We of the Rasta community, Grenada Herbal Foundation and regular citizens of Grenada need input into that bill. It cannot be a bill that is just given to our people,” he said.
Scientific studies carried out on mice by the University of South Carolina have revealed that not only can THC prevent ARDS, a potentially lethal coronavirus complication, but can also significantly increase in healthy lung bacteria. The study was published in Frontiers in Pharmacology, the British Journal of Pharmacology and the International Journal of Molecular Sciences. While the compounds in marijuana can potentially treat symptoms of the Covid-19, researchers are not advocating that people with Covid-19 should self-medicate.