Is There a Future for Medical Cannabis in Georgia

By Nurlan Huseynov

Medical marijuana is used for treatment. Despite the fact that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not recognized it, medical marijuana is used for treating some diseases or symptoms. Since 1996, 23 US states and Washington DC have passed laws which make marijuana use legal for different medical purposes. It is basically used in order to relieve pain, but there are other medical conditions for which marijuana is used.

The FDA stated that marijuana contains chemicals called cannabinoids which are related to THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). THC, the main mind altering ingredient in marijuana, is used for increasing appetite during extreme diseases and also it reduces nausea. Other effects of THC are reducing pain, inflammation and muscle control problems. These problems also may be treated by CBD, and CBD can also be used in epileptic seizure and possibly even mental illnesses.

Some animal research studies showed that marijuana chemicals can kill or reduce the size of cancer cells. Other research done on mice showed that purified extracts of THC and CBD, if used with radiation, increase the killing of cancer cells.

These two chemicals are the subject of US National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other research organizations trying to find out more about them.

Many scientists are also doing pre-clinical and clinical trials with extractions of marijuana to find more effects of it in order to treat several diseases such as HIV and AIDS, multiple sclerosis (MS), Alzheimer disease and mental disorders. While these trials are ongoing, the FDA approved two drugs, dronabinol and nabilone, which contain THC. It is used to treat nausea and lack of appetite. Several European countries, the UK and Canada have approved a mouth spray called Sativex to treat muscle control problems caused by MS. The US is conducting trials in order to use it for cancer pain. Another drug, Epidiolex, which contains CBD, is now in a trial. The scientists who created this drug believe that it will treat childhood epilepsy.

How about the medical use of marijuana in Georgia? What is its future? The senior researcher at addiction research center Alternative Georgia, Irma Kirtadze, said: “there is no such term as medical use of marijuana in Georgia, because any kind of use of marijuana is illegal here. It depends on Western countries' practice; if they will accept medical use of marijuana, then it will spread all over the world and Georgia will accept it as well.”

Zura Sikharuladze, a medical doctor, narcologist and head of methadone maintenance at the “Uranti” clinic, says that “medical use of marijuana has never happened in Georgia. But it has possibilities in the near future. It will be difficult to use it in Georgia, because first of all, we need the correct legislation for it, in order to protect misuse of medical marijuana. And I will myself try to contribute to the use of medical marijuana.”