ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Hussain Chaudhry announced on Tuesday that the cabinet had approved the first license for industrial and medical use of hemp, a specific variety of cannabis plant.
Hemp is used to extract a compound called CBD or Cannabidiol that is widely used for medical and therapeutic purposes. Since cannabis is illegal in much of the world, however, the legal status of CBD is not always certain either.
The European Union allows the sale of CBD in most of its member states under strict regulations.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States says on its website that it “recognizes the potential opportunities that cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds may offer and acknowledges the significant interest in these possibilities.”
However, the FDA “is aware that some companies are marketing products containing cannabis and cannabis-derived compounds in ways that violate the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) and that may put the health and safety of consumers at risk.”
The website adds that the agency is “committed to protecting the public health while also taking steps to improve the efficiency of regulatory pathways for the lawful marketing of appropriate cannabis and cannabis-derived products.”
In Pakistan, a large number of people prefer herbal and traditional medical treatments to more advanced scientific ones since they assume that herbal cures do not have side effects.
Many of these individuals also use CBD that is usually extracted at home.
With the federal cabinet’s decision to allow the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (PCSIR) to carry out the activity under license, people favoring herbal medicines might benefit from the decision, though the science minister did not give further details in his Twitter post.