Is it legal in Mexico?
Some patients believe CBD has the most medicinal benefit of all the cannabis compounds. But most of them do not realize that there are actually two versions of this product on the market
There is a lot of noise reverberating throughout the United States these days regarding cannabidiol (CBD). It is the primary non-psychoactive chemical of the cannabis plant, beneficial in the treatment of a variety of conditions from epilepsy to chronic pain. Some patients believe CBD has the most medicinal benefit of all the cannabis compounds. But most of them do not realize that there are actually two versions of this product on the market. One is created from hemp, while the other marijuana.
So, what’s the difference?
It is first important to understand what CBD is. It is one out of at least 100 cannabinoids found naturally in the cannabis plant. For the past few years, there have been countless reports released about the medicinal power of this marijuana component. It really began gaining traction once people began to see how CBD could reduce seizure frequency in epileptic children without getting them stoned.
Several states have passed ultra-restrictive CBD laws as a means to help sick children. But the federal government still considers it an illegal drug. Yet, CBD products are found on retail shelves all over the country – even in areas of total prohibition.
It is the distinction between CBD derived from marijuana and CBD from hemp oil that sets them apart. Marijuana is harvested for its buds, which contains psychoactive properties known to produce stoned effects. When it comes to hemp, the stalks and seed are the targets of this crop. These plants do not contain enough THC to get anyone high. In fact, for cannabis to be considered hemp, it must have no more than 0.3 percent THC.
Although CBD oil and hemp oil are both low in THC, the difference in the amount of CBD these products contain is huge. Hemp oil has only traces of CBD (around 3.5 percent,) while CBD oil can have up to 20 percent. It is the higher concentration that makes CBD beneficial in the treatment of various health disorders. Hemp oil based CBD products do not contain enough of the compound to be considered much more than a health supplement. These are the products found in health food stores all over the country – legal in all 50 states.
Just think of hemp oil-based CBD as a vitamin (high in Potassium and Magnesium) and the bud-based products to be pharmaceutical grade.
Products with THC in Mexico Cancelled
The guidelines with which export permits were delivered only operated for five months, what led to that decision?
Julio Sánchez and Tépoz, then head of the Federal Commission for the Protection against Sanitary Risks (Cofepris), presumed that for more than 90 years its use was prohibited in the country and now Mexico was advancing in the scientific, medical and industrial approach of the plant.
Lemonades, gummies and even deodorants were among the 38 products made from CBD (non-psychoactive component) and with 1% less THC (psychoactive component).
Days later, a new government began and among the many policies implemented by past administrations, the one that allowed this “advance” was also upset. What happened?
The origin of legalization for medicinal purposes
In June 2017, the General Health Law was reformed to allow the elaboration, commercialization, and importation of products derived from marijuana for medicinal purposes.
The next step was to create a regulation in the next 180 days to finalize the reforms, through Cofepris, it should, but did not.
It was until October 30, 2018, when Cofepris unveiled the “Guidelines on the health control of cannabis and its derivatives”, which would serve as a basis for issuing permits to import medicines and industrialized products. Only they did not have official validity because they were not published in the Official Gazette of the Federation.
On March 27, Cofepris and the Ministry of Economy of the new government reported in a joint statement that the guidelines had been revoked because there were omissions and possible irregularities in the delivery of permits.
The opportunity to improve the rules
Zara Snapp, the co-founder of the RIA Institute, a civil organization specialized in public policies on drugs, among other matters, points out in an interview that this revocation opens up an opportunity to have more ambitious legislation.
Snapp is one of the first people to obtain an Amparo for the consumption of marijuana for recreational purposes and to import cannabis seeds to Mexico and refers to the proposal presented last November by the then Senator Olga Sánchez Cordero , current Secretary of the Interior.
The retiring minister presented a proposal for the regulation of cannabis for medicinal and recreational use that includes the impulse of Mexican industry and research.
While that happens, Snapp points out, there is the resolution of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation that obliges judges to grant protection to citizens who are denied permission to plant marijuana or consume it for recreational purposes.
Julio Salazar, a Senior Lawyer of the Drug Policy Program in Mexico United Against Crime AC (MUCD), points out that “well regulated, this industry could facilitate people’s access to their treatment.”
Raúl Elizalde , an activist who achieved an Amparo that allows him to import the Epidiolex drug for the consumption of his little daughter Grace (who suffers from Lennox Gastaut syndrome ), points out that opening the market is a first step to facilitate the conditions in which a person can access the products, where the import of raw material and products would be a step forward, but that “would leave us halfway” not to open the space to the regulation of the sowing and the national production of the raw material.
The regulation of the products should not only be focused on the issue of pharmaceutical drugs, he says, but also on herbal remedies and medications and their investigation “because if not, the door will close.”
“What worries us is that it is lobbying in favor of the pharmaceutical industry,” said the businessman.
An opaque regulation process
The experts consulted by mexico.com explained that the regulatory process to market products presented various irregularities.
“This process was not very transparent and there was not much information on how to obtain permits (…) There were rumors of corruption in how permits were issued, some companies had more information than others, the process was not clear, it was not open”, Zara Snapp points.
Among the companies that benefited are the company Kuida Life Mexico, a subsidiary of Khiron Life Sciences Corp, of which Mexican President Vicente Fox is a member of its board of directors, according to Mexicanos Contra la Corrupción y la Impunidad (MCCI). On November 30, one day before the change of government, the company obtained a permit to market three nutritional supplements with cannabis.
The lack of transparency on how the permits issued led to the intervention of the National Institute of Transparency, Access to Information and Protection of Personal Data ( INAI ).
An individual asked the Cofepris, via a request for transparency, the permit files, but denied them on the grounds that he did not have them.
The case was brought to an appeal for review by the INAI, which instructed Cofepris to carry out a “thorough and reasonable” search of the documents in the area responsible for authorizations (the Sanitary Authorization Commission) and to which he had not been asked for the information he had denied.
Cofepris informed in its statement that it will review the documents that were issued by the previous administration as “alleged authorizations… in order to decide on their validity, or if necessary, to initiate the actions in accordance with the applicable legal framework “
“If there were irregularities that were mentioned which were and that it is not as in many cases that is accused and in the end there is no responsible, ” says Elizalde.
It does not fulfill its end
Along with the process, the experts consulted point out that the guidelines, as they were, did not guarantee access to adequate treatments.
An example of this is that the importation of seeds or of the plant itself was not contemplated. Snapp, a Master in Public Policy from Harvard University, explains that there are cases in which patients need a non-industrialized presentation: “There are those who need the flower because they are going to vaporize it and do not want to take it as an oil or extract.”
The same guidelines ordered that the products should have a concentration of 1% or less of THC, which is the psychoactive component of the plant. Elizalde, who is the director of HempMeds Mexico, a company that obtained permits to import food and cosmetic supplements, warns that there was a danger that products with THC that would achieve the characteristics of a psychotropic would be “disguised” as supplements or food in the absence of a regulation explaining the maximums.
Julio Salazar, from Mexico United Against Crime, points out that the filling formats also did not favor access to the products, “even so that an individual could have the possibility to import them, he would have to hire a customs agent” and besides that they should not cover products that were not medical, because the purpose of the reforms was that.
TheFreshToast.com, a US lifestyle site, that contributes lifestyle content and, with their partnership with 600,000 physicians via Skipta, medical marijuana information to The GrowthOp.
Source: thegrowthop, mucd.org.mx
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