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Pharmaceutical society kicks against legalising Indian hemp for medical use

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Indian hemp

Pharmacists under the aegis of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) have kicked against calls for legalising medical Cannabis (Marijuana/Indian hemp).

National Publicity Secretary, PSN, Ijeoma Okey-Ewurum, in a statement, yesterday, dissociated the society from the claims of one of her members, Dr. Samuel Adekola, on the issue of legalising Indian hemp for medical use.

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Adekola had on Sunrise Daily, of the Channels Television, on Friday, May 21, made some unsubstantiated and uncorroborated claims that Nigerian pharmacists support legalising Indian hemp for medical use.

Okey-Ewurum said pharmacists share the concern of most Nigerian public who expressed worries over this claim, as it is premature and assaults public health and societal sanity. She said with weak drug laws and a chaotic drug distribution system, legalising Cannabis for medical use now will only increase items in the bouquet of substances of abuse and will be like letting lose a hand grenade. The pharmacist said PSN supports robust research of Cannabis, devoid of pecuniary interest, given its harmful effect on the brain, especially the young developing brain (the most vulnerable group of substance abuse) and its strong association with psychosis and reports of fast-tracking the age of onset of psychotic illnesses.

The PSN is conscious of the huge burden of drug and substance abuse and the alarming rate of suicide in our country and is working very hard with the National Assembly to see that the Pharmacy Bill is passed into law to provide a legal basis for commensurate sanctions on pharmacists who fall short of ethical standards and handling of poisons and psychotropic substances.

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She added: “Finally, the PSN President, Mazi Samuel Ohuabunwa, remains the spokesman of Nigerian pharmacists. The media and the Nigerian Public should disregard Dr. Adekola’s claim, as he lacks the authority to speak on our behalf. We promise Nigerians that pharmaceutical care under our watch will balance science and economic gains with protection and preservation of public health and sanity.”

The PSN, the umbrella body of all registered pharmacists in Nigeria noted: “The pharmaco-therapeutics, pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics of Cannabis (marijuana, Indian Hemp, etc.) and its derivatives have been known to us, right from the schools of Pharmacy and there is no doubt of some scientific evidence that medicinal cannabis (not regular street cannabis) has some benefits in treating terminally ill patients with cancer and some other chronic painful conditions.

“The December 2, 2020 meeting of the United Nations (UN), severally, referred to at that TV interaction, was for rescheduling of cannabis, from the dangerous drug list, and not for immediate impact on loosening international control, as countries will still have jurisdiction over how to classify Cannabis, based on research and political will for effective regulation.”

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