The Indian Seed Policy Director Has Spoken

Gloria Indica

Hi! Welcome to the 22nd edition of Gloria Indica, our newsletter written specifically for Wednesdays and Thursdays. If you’re reading this for the first time, then welcome. This is our newsletter when we tend to focus a bit more on the cannabis, business and technology narratives blazing across the world of ours today. Narratives that will have an impact on all of us, if not now, then definitely in a few years. 

Let’s start blazing. 

Come on You, Italians!

Like many countries of their ilk, many conservative Italians also swear by the ancient ‘greatness’ of their country, that stemmed from erstwhile Rome, an era where open trade across the mediterranean flourished while gladiatorial fights and debauchery made their merries apparent among the high Roman society. This sense of ‘royalty’ carries a semblance in Italy’s high fashion and luxury brands as well. Come storms or high water, now the Italians have crumbled and labelled CBD as a narcotic. Quoting from Hemp Today: 

“CBD has been classified as a narcotic in Italy, with officials simultaneously banning the compound from the Italian market. Under a recent decree issued by the Ministry of Health, CBD was officially added to the country’s list of medicines; a separate order from Italy’s Customs and Monopoly Agency, which quickly followed, warned retailers “not to hold and sell . . . inflorescences (flowers), oils and resins or other products containing substances derived from hemp sativa.” Published in Italy’s Official Gazette, the decree adds CBD to the country’s table of medicines as “compositions for oral administration of cannabidiol (CBD) obtained from cannabis extracts.”

In spite of innumerable evidence that’s scientifically published and accepted, how can the Italian Ministry of Health gatecrash the CBD party and ask for CBD to not be considered as a wellness product to be infused into foods and beverages? It does not make sense. Ideally the Italian food and safety authority should step in and tell the Ministry of health about the same. But why are they not? 

Observers have noted that the decree establishing narcotic status for CBD is, in part, preparation for the introduction of Epidiolex, a CBD-based drug whose manufacturer, UK-headquartered GW Pharmaceuticals, has requested authorization to begin selling that product on the Italian market. GW is slowly expanding its distribution of Epidiolex in Europe, with rollouts also afoot in the U.K, Germany, Spain and France. Epidiolex has been found to be effective in patients who suffer Dravet Syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome, two debilitating forms of epilepsy. GW made cannabis history in 2018 when it earned approval from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) for Epidiolex, making it the first cannabis-derived prescription drug to gain federal approval in the United States.

This is a welcome news, but still it does not make sense to remove CBD from its status as a health and wellness compound. Because the cannabis plant is very versatile and has multiple use cases – it can be used in foods, beverages and medicines. Therefore, government ministries should read the science again and allow innovation and entrepreneurship in all facets of the cannabis ecosystem rather than restrict one for the other, which is not in the interest of the consumer and by default the economy. 

Let’s keep blazing. 

Blazing One For The Swedes

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: psychedelic plants are going to disrupt the global pharmaceutical market, provided regulators all over the world open their eyes and admit that psychedelic plants are a part of nature and must be used properly, rather than fall for emotional propaganda and associate them with terrorism or something. The peddlers of bad logic can shout, but the inevitability of science is such that even the peddlers of bad logic change their colours in no time. 

Here’s from Sweden: 

The pharmaceutical industry has shown very limited interest in psilocybin despite positive results from clinical trials. There are no strong financial incentives to invest in a known substance with limited patent options, especially when the treatment regimen studied only involves 1-2 doses. Therefore, it is important that Osmond Foundation can support this research to develop better treatment options for depression,” says Ulf Bremberg, board member of Osmond Foundation and CEO of Osmond Labs, a pharmaceutical company that is fully owned by Osmond Foundation.” 

“Osmond Foundation conducts research under Open Science principles. This means that all methods and results, regardless of the outcome, will be made accessible to other researchers with the purpose of advancing the scientific understanding of psychedelic substances.” 

Psilocybin is the active compound in magic mushrooms, a naturally occurring plant like cannabis.

“Our society lacks effective treatments for many psychiatric disorders, including depression, which severely affects public health on a global scale. With this study, we will investigate a novel treatment approach for depression, and learn more about acute and long-term efficacy. In addition, we will gain further insight into how psilocybin exerts its effect by using brain imaging techniques,” says Johan Lundberg, associate professor at the department of clinical neuroscience at Karolinska Institutet and principal investigator for the study.”

Science and Research for the win. 

Swedish Melodic Death Metal

Let’s keep blazing. 

Indian Plant Genetics, The National Seed Policy Director Has Spoken

According to us, every Indian state government needs to let its agricultural universities and private entrepreneurs loose, scout for native cannabis varieties, study their molecular profile and in the process build a national cannabis strain database, while incentivizing entrepreneurs to use them, cultivate cannabis and start tapping the local and global markets in the process. Sounds very easy. But does the government have the gumption and the vision to do something out of the ordinary for the long-term welfare of its citizens? 

Here’s the National Seed Policy Director speaking to the Hindu Business Line: 

“The Indian seed industry estimates that India has a $25-billion cannabis (marijuana) business in the next five years and the government must allow research and development and export of cannabis seeds to countries where it is being used for making biofuels, bio-plastic and in the pharma industry. If not cultivation, the government must permit the seed industry to carry out cannabis research and development that will help to curb bio-piracy and genetic contamination, said Indra Shekhar Singh, Director – Policy and Outreach, National Seed Association of India (NSAI) speaking to BusinessLine.”

He is right. India should know the strength and potency of the country’s indigenous cannabis strains. After all, one of the origin theories of cannabis shows that the Indian subcontinent was probably home to the world’s first wild cannabis strains. If India does not allow modern scientific principles loose on its own plants, what’s the point?  

According to seed industry players, foreign companies are making money using Indian cannabis germplasm or genetic resources. The seed industry players have specific demands: The conservation of the Indian variety of native marijuana (Cannabis indica) and Hemp (Cannabis sativa L) must be permitted, the government must license seed companies to conduct research and tap demand for cannabis seed in the international market.” 

Let’s keep blazing. Have a great day 🙂

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