LUCKNOW: The narcotics department within the revenue wing of the Union finance ministry has sanctioned a research and development (R&D) project on cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – two unique natural compounds found in cannabis. Now, cannabis, commonly known as ganja, will be grown at Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (CIMAP) in Lucknow (UP) and Pantnagar (Uttarakhand).
“CSIR-CIMAP wants to start R&D work on genetic improvement of identification and selection of THC, CBD and cannabinioderpene – a rich strain-level genotype of cannabis – at their office in Lucknow, UP, with its resource centre in Pantnagar, Uttarakhand. CSIR has, therefore, requested to allow them to collect cannabis germplasm and grow it in their fields,” the Centre’s note said.
The note also said that India’s NDPS policy emphasised development of drug varieties with low THC content, which could be exploited for industrial and horticulture purposes. “That is source of biomass and fibre, and for production of cannabis seed oil,” it said.
In its note, which has been sent to all state governments, director (narcotics control) in the finance ministry has cited a WHO expert committee report on drug dependence. WHO has taken cognisance of medicinal use of low THC cannabis and has proposed change in scope of control of cannabis-related substances in the international conventions.
CBD is extracted from cannabis hemp and it’s used in gels, oils and food supplements. It also has medicinal use. THC, on the other hand, is a psychoactive compound present in cannabis, responsible for giving the high sensation.