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Ghana begins production of cannabis for health, industrial purposes




Ghana has commenced cultivation and production of cannabis (also known as ganja, marijuana, weed, pot or dope) for health and industrial purposes.

Ghana had approved cannabis for industrial and medical purposes earlier in the year on Friday, March 20, 2023, when the Parliament of Ghana passed the Narcotics Control Commission Bill 2019.

The bill allows the production of cannabis with no more than 0.3% THC, the psychoactive component that induces the “high” associated with cannabis.

The bill also transformed the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB) into a commission with enhanced powers to regulate and control the cannabis industry.

Ghana’s decision is part of a broader trend of cannabis legalization in Africa, as several other countries, such as Lesotho, Zimbabwe, and South Africa, have also legalized cannabis for medical and scientific purposes.

Ghana hopes to benefit from the economic and health opportunities that cannabis offers, especially in the areas of fibre, seed, and medicinal products.

However, the government also faces the challenge of ensuring that the cannabis industry is inclusive and sustainable, and that it does not lead to abuse or criminal activities.

The government also stated that the legalization of cannabis for industrial and medical purposes does not mean that recreational cannabis is legal.

It said that possession, cultivation, or use of cannabis with more than 0.3% THC remains illegal and punishable by law.

It, therefore, urged people to respect the new law and be aware of the risks and responsibilities involved in the cannabis industry.

Cannabis is a plant that contains several compounds, or cannabinoids, that may have various effects on the human body and mind.

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Some of the potential health benefits of cannabis are:

  1. Alleviating anxiety: Cannabis may help reduce anxiety and stress by activating the endocannabinoid system, which regulates mood, emotion, and behavior.
  2. Reducing nausea and vomiting: Cannabis may help prevent or treat nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy, motion sickness, or other conditions by stimulating the CB1 receptors in the brain and gut.
  3. Treating migraines and seizures: Cannabis may help reduce the frequency and intensity of migraines and seizures by modulating the activity of neurotransmitters and inflammatory mediators.
  4. Managing chronic pain: Cannabis may help relieve chronic pain, such as neuropathic pain, arthritis, fibromyalgia, and multiple sclerosis, by interacting with the pain pathways in the nervous system and the immune system.
  5. Improving sleep quality: Cannabis may help improve sleep quality and duration by inducing relaxation, reducing pain, and regulating the sleep-wake cycle.

Meanwhile, cannabis may also have some health risks, such as addiction, impaired memory, psychosis, and lung damage.

It is, therefore, recommended to consult a doctor before using cannabis for medical purposes and to use it responsibly and legally.

Cannabis contains many compounds that can affect the health in various ways with some of the possible side effects of cannabis to include:

  • Changes in blood pressure and heart rate: Cannabis may lower or raise blood pressure and increase heart rate, which can be dangerous for people with heart problems.
  • Dizziness or drowsiness: Cannabis may make one feel dizzy or sleepy, which can impair balance, coordination, and reaction time. This can increase risk of falls, injuries, or accidents.
  • Impaired memory and learning: Cannabis may affect short-term and long-term memory, as well as ability to learn, focus, and process information. This can affect academic or work performance, especially if one uses cannabis regularly or at a young age.
  • Mood disorders: Cannabis may cause or worsen anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, or psychosis, especially if one has a personal or family history of these conditions. Cannabis may also trigger paranoia, hallucinations, or delusions in some people.
  • Lung damage: Cannabis may irritate the lungs and increase risk of respiratory infections, bronchitis, asthma, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Smoking cannabis may also expose one to harmful chemicals and carcinogens that can cause lung cancer.
  • Addiction: Cannabis may be addictive for some people, meaning that they have difficulty controlling their use, experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop, or continue to use despite negative consequences. Cannabis addiction can affect the physical, mental, social, and financial well-being of a person.
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These are some of the common and serious side effects of cannabis, but there may be others that are not listed here.

According to experts, the effects of cannabis may vary depending on the amount, potency, frequency, and method of use, as well as your individual factors, such as age, health, genetics, and tolerance.

Hence, it is important to be aware of the risks and benefits of cannabis use and to consult a doctor before using it for medical purposes.

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