Weed In Europe: Medical Marijuana In Ukraine, Albania’s Hemp, UK Cannabis Study Lacks Diversity

Ukraine: Healthcare Committee Approves Medical Marijuana Bill

The second draft of a bill to legalize medical marijuana in Ukraine was approved by the country’s Healthcare Committee. Ukrainian MP and committee member Olga Stefanyshyna confirmed the Committee recommended the medical cannabis bill for a second reading in the parliament, reported The New Voice Of Ukraine.

“Nearly a thousand amendments, dozens of hours of discussions with law enforcement, agricultural workers, MPs, and the public: we have done everything to ensure that patients can access medicine as soon as possible, and businesses have the opportunity to operate in Ukraine under clear and transparent oversight from the state,” Stefanyshyna said.

She added that medical cannabis regulation never progressed as much in the history of Ukraine and that she hopes it will pass in the parliament.

See Also: Zelenskyy Says Ukraine Needs To Legalize Medical Marijuana: Influence Of War With Russia?

Albania: Assessing Hemp Growth Opportunities

A local hemp industry organization in Albania is asking farmers to examine hemp growth opportunities. The news comes less than three months after the Albanian Parliament legalized cannabis for medical and industrial use.

Under the law, foreign companies with prior industry experience in other countries are allowed to get involved in marijuana growing in the country, writes BNE Intellinews.

The idea behind the survey is to determine requirements for cultivation zones, wholesale plans, and legal understanding.

Sali Ram Berisham, former president (1992-1997), prime minister (2205-2013) and Democratic Party leader, criticized the initial proposal, arguing it would increase crime and put a black mark on Albania.

Prior to legalization, Prime Minister Edi Rama conducted a national survey that showed 61% of respondents support legalization of medical and industrial marijuana use, but the survey’s independence has been criticized.

Albania has an extended cannabis culture, mostly hash. The village of Lazarat was once known as a major cannabis hub in Europe. Albania is among the top countries in Europe for cannabis cultivation, according to the World Drug Report 2022, from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

United Kingdom: Biggest Independent Cannabis Use Study Missing Black Participants

Last year, King’s College London announced the world’s largest independent marijuana use research study, ‘Cannabis & Me.’ About one year later, the study is having difficulties finding enough diverse participants in the London area.

Marta Di Forti MD, MRCPsych, Ph.D., the lead researcher raised concerns about the study results, due to its lack of diversity. “We will end up with findings that only represent the white population and they won’t be generalizable to Black British people who therefore won’t be able to benefit from any advances our study leads to,” she said.

The study began signing up participants in late 2022 and now has more than 2200, but it needs several more thousand in total, writes Cannabis Science And Tech.

“The study will use a combination of DNA genetic and epigenetics testing, psychological and cognitive analysis, and virtual reality to understand the link between a user’s biological makeup and the effect cannabis has on them,” according to the King’s College website “In particular, the study will aim to identify the environmental (e.g. history of trauma), genetic and epigenetic markers that are most likely to cause mental health and social problems in users.”

The research requires a hundred more Black participants, but it seems that recruitment efforts are not having satisfying results.

Meanwhile, the UK’s pharmaceutical company developing prescription cannabinoid medicines recently reported progress in its clinical trials. Oxford Cannabinoid Technologies Holdings OCTP confirmed Tuesday that the dosing of all the cohorts of the Phase I, single ascending dose study for OCT461201 has been successfully completed. No safety or tolerability concerns were exhibited with any dose tested. As a result, OCTP is satisfied that it is safe to proceed to the next stage of clinical development of its lead compound OCT461201.

The company will prepare to proceed to Phase II provided it is able to raise funds in a timely manner while projecting a cash runway to the fourth quarter of 2024.

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Photo: Courtesy of Nicole Plunkett via Unsplash

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