How I discovered health and beauty in “cannabis” | In the first person

I was in Maui, Hawaii in January 2018 and (I think) I had sciatica due to the high humidity that affected my entire left leg. On an island in the middle of the Pacific, he crossed half the world for a long yoga workshop and was prevented from doing it – and was practically unable to move. A trustworthy person gave me a dropper bottle with a liquid that looked like a slightly salty syrup and a tip to take it morning and evening and still apply it locally to the painful area. Usually I’m drug resistant and “drugs” a lot more. But I was assured that this liquid from the cannabis only had the oil of the relaxing effect, which helped the muscular part. And not the psychotropic drug that gives the feeling of changing the senses. I obeyed, a little skeptically. After a few days, she recovered and did all the advanced yoga postures as if nothing had happened. If it hadn’t been for making the most of the days he was there to study and study, and maybe he would never have tested CBD (short for cannabidiol, one of the many compounds found in cannabis).

Medical cannabis is not a new fad. Do hosts Chelsea Handler, cook Martha Stewart and model Hailey Baldwin have Bieber in common? All of them consume CBD. We haven’t seen any celebrities showing their faces in Portugal, but the production and marketing of pharmaceuticals is on the rise. Tilray is a multinational pharmaceutical company of Canadian origin with a manufacturing center in Cantanhede, which defines itself as a “global pioneer” in the manufacture, research and development of preparations and substances based on the cannabis plant for medicinal purposes “. Rita Barata, Marketing Director for Europe, puts the use of the cannabis plant for therapeutic purposes in historical records that were made in the Chinese-occupied region more than 6000 years ago. Since then, its use has been widespread around the world, and by the early twentieth century it appeared in major pharmacopoeias around the world. The classification of cannabis by the United Nations in 1961 as a substance of no therapeutic value had a major impact on the research and development of cannabinoid-related science. “In December, a new UN decision corrected the classification of cannabis and classified it as a substance with therapeutic value.

On February 1, 2021, Tilray confirmed that it had received approval to “provide Portuguese patients with the first substance based on the cannabis plant for medicinal purposes in accordance with Portuguese legislation”. Marketing authorization has been granted by the National Medicines and Health Products Agency – Infarmed. “This is the first and only preparation or substance approved on the cannabis plant for medicinal purposes in our country and we confirm that we plan to make other products available to patients in Portugal in the near future. Patient demands are increasing and our mission is to offer the safest and highest quality products that fully meet their needs, ”announced the company’s general manager.

In consultation 11 / CD / 2019, Infarmed had already approved a list of therapeutic indications that were considered suitable for cannabis-based preparations and substances for medical purposes: spasticity in connection with multiple sclerosis or spinal cord injuries; Nausea, vomiting (resulting from chemotherapy, radiation, and combination therapy for HIV and hepatitis C drugs); Epilepsy and treatment of severe childhood seizure disorders; Appetite stimulation in palliative care for patients receiving cancer treatment or suffering from AIDS; chronic pain; Gilles de la Tourette syndrome; and treatment-resistant glaucoma.

With Infarmed’s decision, Tilray will begin to provide a preparation based on the cannabis plant that has already been approved in other countries such as Germany. The Cantanhede unit, which serves as a support center for clinical research, product development and sales, not only produces the active ingredient, but also the end product. The range of products manufactured here ranges from dried flowers to oral solutions with different concentrations of THC and CBD.

CBD, THC, what are we talking about?

There are several varieties of Cannabis Sativa L. and it is the plant that defines what cannabinoids are present in the extracted oil and in what percentage. The most common cannabinoids are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychotropic substance) and CBD (cannabidiol, modeler that relaxes). The plant with the lowest or almost nonexistent THC concentration is hemp. For therapeutic purposes, the plants used have higher concentrations of THC and CBD, and the use of these combined can have enhanced effects. The most in demand are, among other things, the reduction of inflammation and anxiety, the reduction of chronic pain processes and the regulation of sleep.

Sérgio Azenha / Archives

There are two main routes for the administration of cannabis-based preparations and substances for medicinal purposes: the inhalation route and the oral route. Healthcare professionals should determine the most appropriate route of administration based on the patient’s profile and therapeutic needs. According to Tilray, cannabinoid therapies can be presented as a whole dried flower or as an oral solution (the vehicle of which is an oil). “In general, the whole dried flower is primarily used to treat medical situations where patients need rapid symptom relief, or when the oral route is not available or not preferable. Oral solutions are generally prescribed for chronic symptom relief, with a slower onset of action but longer duration of action. “

And how do you know which form of administration and dosage is best? Doctors use the patient’s medical history and diagnosis to decide which dosage is best for each patient. answers Rita Barata. And if it’s strange to spell “cannabis” and “doctor” in the same sentence, the truth is that this area of ​​Portugal is growing rapidly. In recent years there have been medical and pharmaceutical congresses on the use of cannabis for therapeutic purposes. Cannativa is a Portuguese association of studies on cannabis and there is also the Portuguese observatory for cannabis medicines.

Despite my positive experience in Hawaii, Rita Barata recommends exercising caution when using uncontrolled formulas: “Avoid using medicinal cannabis-based products in unregulated contexts and without supervision by the health and economic authorities in their quality control is not guaranteed. ”

CBD in beauty

The use of hemp and CBD has also reached the world of beauty. The brands indicate the calming and nourishing effect. The use of CBD in cosmetics is also regulated by Infarmed. However, the process is easier because the CNPN (Cosmetic Product Notification Portal) publishes the list of substances that can be used in what concentration.

Christin Hume / Unsplash

There are already several brands that offer products that are intended for tired skin or with problems such as acne. For example, the Swedish company Foreo has launched a mask (a pack of six costs € 19.99) with cannabis sativa L. seed oil and soothing and regenerating properties. The cannabis seed oil mask must be used with one of the brand’s devices. UFO (178 €), which combines heating (skin preparation), T-Sonic pulsations (improves the absorption of mask components) and LED light therapy (luminosity, anti-aging, etc.). For sale in perfumeries such as Douglas or Sephora.

The German essence, which is available in pharmacies and parapharmacies, offers a range of make-up and facial care products in limited editions, the High Beauty Trend Edition, with hemp oil with products from the base to the mask that run through the sizer and lipstick . The prices vary between € 2.99 and € 4.99. North American Khiel’s, which is sold in perfumeries, department stores and with its own shop in Príncipe Real in Lisbon, offers the cannabis sativa seed oil range for all skin types, consisting of soothing facial oil (48 €) and cleansing face cleansing gel ( 14 €).

In the Body Shop, the CDB line is indicated for skin showing signs of stress and consists of a soothing oil-balm cleansing mask (€ 20), a facial oil restoration (€ 28) and a moisturizing cream (€ 23). For its part, Smart Nature is launching the Canzon line of cosmetics with CBD with proposals such as hand cream, anti-aging facials and serums (prices vary between 12.50 and 27 euros).

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