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The researchers are planning to promote research in herbal drugs, some of which involve deriving new drugs from marijuana.

Important Facts:

  • The researchers belonging to the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) and the Department of Biotechnology (DoB) will test whether strains of marijuana grown at the CSIR-IIIM campus in Jammu could be effective in the treatment of breast cancer, sickle-cell anaemia.
  • The strains of marijuana will also be tested for as “bio-equivalent”, similar in make-up and effect, to marijuana-derived drugs already approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (U.S. FDA).
  • The study, is to check if the “feelings of bliss” induced by cannabis could be detected at the cellular level.
  • The effects of bhaang (marijuana consumed orally) have been known to induce a state of bliss.
  • Uttarakhand, Jammu and Uttar Pradesh have allowed restricted cultivation of the plant for medical research.
  • The organisations have formally applied to the Drug Control General of India for permissions.

Background:

Marijuana or hemp is illegal for commercial cultivation India though it grows as weed in several parts of the country. The U.S. FDA also recently approved Epidiolex (cannabidiol) [CBD] oral solution for the treatment of seizures associated with two rare and severe forms of epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.

About Marijuana:

  • Marijuana refers to the dried leaves, flowers, stems, and seeds from the Cannabis sativa or Cannabis indica plant.
  • The main active ingredient in marijuana is the mind-altering chemical delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
  • Marijuana is the most common illegal drug used in the United States.
  • Depending on the level of THC, users may also experience euphoria, hallucinations, and paranoia.

Significance:

The studies into the therapeutic potential of marijuana is part of a larger governmental thrust to making new drugs derived from herbs and plants that find mention in Ayurvedic and other traditional-medicine knowledge systems.

About Drug Control General of India:

  • DCGI under gamut of Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) is responsible for approval of licenses of specified categories of drugs such as blood and blood products, vaccines, IV fluids and sera in India.
  • DCGI lays down standards and quality of manufacturing, selling, import and distribution of drugs in India.
  • It acts as appellate authority in case of any dispute regarding quality of drugs.
  • It prepares and maintains national reference standard.
  • It brings about uniformity in enforcement of Drugs and Cosmetics Act.
  • It trains Drug Analysts deputed by State Drug Control Laboratories and other Institutions.

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