Despite the red tape and the imprisonment of Albert Tio the Spanish government is funding some medical cannabis research
Some good news from Spain on the cannabis front at last! As reported by Público, a Spanish-language public affairs and news zine, the Botanical Institute of Barcelona which is a joint project of the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) and the City Council of the Catalan capital is entering its fourth year of government funding for cannabis research.
The project is funded on a federal level by the Ministry of Science and Innovation, which has been given a license by the Spanish Agency for Medicines and Medical Devices (AEMPS). The ultimate objective of the study is to understand the plant’s traditional uses in human history.
The project, led by Teresa Garnatje, consists of 12 researchers and the faculty of Food Sciences of the University of Barcelona. Researchers have already traveled to several countries to obtain, in collaboration with local botanists, samples of indigenous, or what is called “Landrace” cannabis strains. They are also actively asking that those in countries where cannabis is not legal or other restrictions on travel and research exist, that they at least obtain samples of DNA. So far, the team has been focused on Asia and Eastern Europe where cannabis is more easily found still in the wild and uncultivated.
Three years into the project, the researchers have so far gathered between 5-600 samples. The idea is to understand the genetic components of the plant, the variability of species found in the wild, and a way to improve production – whether by growing in “natural” environments or even hybridized.
Given how unstable commercial strains of the plant have proved to be, especially in a GMP, pharmacized production environment, this research may help improve production quality and stability in every medical cultivation market.
However, the question also remains at this point, with a human rights claim pending in Strasbourg, how the Spanish government can jail an activist whose only crime was being ahead of the formal research and putting his life on the line for better access for those who need the drug the most.
This kind of hypocrisy is nothing new of course – in Spain or anywhere else reform powers forward. But is the reason why full and final reform is needed, now. In Spain. In Europe. Not to mention many other regions and jurisdictions.
Be sure to book your tickets for the International Cannabis Business Conference when it returns to Berlin this summer!