Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Czech-born professor's contribution to medical use of cannabis praised

23 November 2012

Prague, Nov 22 (CTK) - Czech-born chemistry professor Lumir Ondrej Hanus was Thursday presented with the Czech Addiction Science Award for his discovery of cannabinoids proper to the human body with which he has opened the door to further research into and use of hemp for treatment.

Hanus, who left for Jerusalem after 1989 and is active at the Hebrew University, "is a world-recognised capacity and a pioneer of the use of a substance that was primarily considered a substance abused as a drug," Jindrich Voboril, Czech national anti-drug coordinator, told CTK.

Hanus considers hemp one of the safest medicines. He is against its legalisation for recreational purposes and he disagrees with that hemp can be used for prevention of diseases.

During his recent stay in the Czech Republic Hanus explained his discovery saying there are bonding points in the brain to which cannabinoids produced by the body are bound. If the system is disrupted, the person concerned falls ill. The balance of the system is restored if hemp-based substances are administered and the health condition improves.

On this principle hemp alleviates strong pains and improves the condition of cancer and multiple sclerosis patients.

Thanks to Hanus' discoveries, Israel has changed the relevant law allowing hemp to be used as a medicine and it is covered by health insurance.

In the Czech Republic a bill legalising hemp for medical purposes has made it through the first reading in the Chamber of Deputies. Both the government coalition and opposition parties agree that the use of hemp for treatment should be legalised.

The bill is also supported by experts as well as laymen.

It is not yet sure whether only imported hemp will be available for treatment, or whether the cultivation of curative hemp will also be allowed in the Czech Republic.

The bill should take effect in the middle of 2013. Patients will pay the treatment because health insurance will not contribute to it.

If hemp were imported from Israel, patients would pay up to several thousand crowns per month depending on the dose.

Critics warn that releasing hemp for medical uses will open the door to across-the-board legalisation.

The possession of a small quantity is now considered a misdemeanour while the possession of a bigger quantity is a criminal offence.

Voboril said he does not agree with the critics and he did not rule out the possibility of discussing recreational uses of hemp in the future, but only for adults.

According to a European school study, Czech children are "champions" in the use of hemp.

The addiction science award has been bestowed since 2006 on people who have contributed to the development of research into, treatment and prevention of addiction.

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