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A New Era for Cannabis Science Begins in 2023

By Raúl Elizalde Garza - HempMeds


By Raúl Elizalde Garza | CEO - Mon, 01/16/2023 - 12:00

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Cannabis plants have been around us for thousands of years, and there have been registers of these plants for over 12,000 years. Initially, cannabis fibers served to produce resistant fabrics for garments and shelter. However, early on, humans discovered that these plants had more uses, including their psychotropic effects for rituals. Even Herodotus of Halicarnassus wrote about the use of these plants in ancient Greece.

In terms of the health benefits these plants offer, we all know that sailors in the 12th and 13th centuries used the seeds of these plants as food for their long journeys, and some of the extracts served to alleviate stomach illnesses and other physical ailments. In the 20th century, cannabis began to attract the attention of medical professionals. For example, in Mexico, during a brief period in the 1940s, there was much research using cannabis to help people with substance abuse problems and to treat mental health conditions. During the 1960s, researchers in Israel managed to determine the psychotropic effect of THC and isolate CBD.

Nonetheless, there were some crucial years regarding  research into these plants in the early 20th century; during the second half of the 20th century, cannabis was stuck in a rut that prevented the creation of new scientific evidence. Nevertheless, in the first two decades of the 21st century, we could observe the exponential growth of this industry, partially because of the remaining scientific evidence and partly because of the advantages anecdotally given to these plants, as the main drivers of the global cannabis industry, to the extent of having the World Health Organization (WHO) recognize the therapeutic potential of CBD.

Throughout the entire history of the global cannabis industry, as we know it, Mexico has been a pioneering nation; early in the  colonial era, our country was one of the first to have a pharmacopeia that registered the health benefits of cannabis. During the first half of the 20th century, Mexico promoted the first dispensaries to aid drug addicts and mental health patients. But as a pioneer of the modern cannabis industry, Mexico was one of the first nations to change its laws and acknowledge the use of cannabis for therapeutic, industrial, and scientific purposes.

Although Mexico has been one of the most influential nations for the industry, in 2023 and after, the entire industry will foresee a "New Golden Age" due not only to global regulations and new countries opening to cannabis-derived products or to the entry of new cannabinoids to the markets ,including cannabigerol (CBG), cannabinol (CBN), and other psychotropic cannabinoids like Delta 8 and 9. The new Golden Age of Cannabis will not be related to a sales increase, although the industry will have around US$40 billion in sales. What will spur  the trends for the industry from 2023 and beyond will be the impact of scientific evidence. Here is where Latin American will renew its potential for the industry because Mexico, Argentina, and Brazil are leading countries in research and obtaining scientific evidence about the therapeutic advantages of cannabis.

Science will be the driver of a new era for the cannabis industry to the extent that recently, US President Joe Biden signed an Expansion Act that addresses topics related to scientific research into cannabis. This new era will allow Latin American — mainly Mexican — scientists with experience generating research protocols to understand the impact of CBD in epilepsy, pain management, neurotoxicity, and other neurodegenerative disorders and to share their expertise with colleagues around the globe and create new research protocols in other regions.

Besides the inherent advantages of having scientific evidence about cannabis-derived products as an adjuvant treatment for several illnesses, it will be a unique opportunity for companies. For example, at HempMeds, we have been collaborating for over six years with scientists, allowing them to freely access isolated CBD products for the research protocols At the same time, we are pleased to hear about their experience and use it to ensure the efficiency and safety of our products.

This new Golden Era for the cannabis industry will be crucial to professionalize the sector and demystify hemp and marijuana. I am confident that once we have more and more scientists willing to collaborate with us and generate new research protocols, we will be able to increase our footprint, offering suitable products to meet the needs of patients and helping health professionals to address their patients' needs accurately.

Recently, I was talking with a Mexican scientist. She is the author of the first research about the impact of CBD in  mitigating neuronal death in epileptic patients, using the tissue removed from the brain of refractory epileptic patients. She mentioned and highlighted the importance of the new research protocols to reaffirm the neuroprotective use of CBD but also how it will become a cornerstone to ensure that there will increasingly be more health professionals willing to use these products because they will be able to understand how to dose it and how CBD and other cannabinoids interact with our body.

The main challenge for the entire industry will be professionalization. Those companies with little to no quality standards and those with no technological process to obtain raw materials, isolate cannabinoids and ensure the safety and efficacy of their products will become handmade products. Other companies with strict standards will face new challenges, including the professionalization of teams to evolve into a science-based industry that will continue to deliver  new scientific evidence and to understand the impact of their work in  improving people's quality of life, taking advantage of the scientists' work. Finally, another critical challenge will be the segmentation of consumers and markets between recreational users and people looking for health products, and I'm confident that the new research will positively impact the demand for isolated cannabinoids.

For HempMeds, 2023 will become a year of constant changes. We will create new collaboration protocols with scientists around the globe, and it will become the year of a science-based market in which we will also become pioneers.

Photo by:   Raul Elizalde

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