According to a new report by Grand View Research, Chinese companies own 309 of the 606 cannabis-related patents including many relating to current medicinal uses worldwide. Cannabis is known as “Ma” and symbolised by the ideogram i the illustration.
Canada, the US, Germany and Australia are expected to emerge as leading markets in terms of production and sale. The legal cannabis market is expected to reach $146.4 billion by 2025.
China started investing in research and development even before the US pushed for legislation, and growing adoption of marijuana in several medical applications such as cancer, mental disorder, chronic pain are expected to be the main drivers of revenue growth.
Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica contain a pool of 85 known cannabinoids compounds, the most prominent ones are Tetrahydrocannabinol and Cannabidiol. These compounds are known to interact directly with Endocannabinoid system receptors to act as a depressant drug. Tetrahy-drocannabinol has a psychoactive effect (known as getting high) while Cannabidiol delivers similar benefits, but lacks the psychoactive effect.
Cannabis is used in different forms: Marijuana is smoked in hand-rolled cigarettes (joints), or in a pipe (a bong). Hashish (charas resins from the plant flower) is mixed with tobacco and smoked or baked and eaten in foods such as cookies. Hash oil is usually spread on cigarette paper and smoked. Tetrahydrocannabinol is absorbed into the bloodstream through the lungs (if smoked), or through the intestines (if eaten), and the effects are rapid when inhaled.
Cannabis indica, is known to contain the highest amount of Tetrahydrocannabinol, up to 17 percent, and is reported to be the perfect strain for medicinal value.
Marijuana can be produced outdoors, indoors or in glass houses. Outdoor cultivation is natural, and benefits the natural ecosystem, is significantly less expensive and suits Nepal geo-climatic condition. The disadvantage is that it has shorter seasons and is prone to pests and weather conditions that may lead to lesser growth rates and loss of crops as it is also a seasonal crop, usually one crop per year.
Nepal can consider indoor cultivation, but it is expensive. Indoor cultivation, however, fetches a premium of 15-50 percent due to better quality, higher Tetrahydrocannabinol levels, aroma and flavour. Under quarantine control, it is possible to grow four to eight crops per year. Greenhouse cultivation can typically grow up to two crops per year under a new state-of-the-art lighting, and auto control heating and cooling conditions. The technology is less expensive compared to indoor growth because of light-emitting diode technology. Automated greenhouse production is considered to be the best option to produce high quality products in the West.
Since cannabis is like a medicine, manufacturers will be required to meet regulatory compliance such as obtaining a good manufacturing practices licence, Therapeutic Goods Administration inspections, establishing a pharmaceutical quality system and validating facilities and services to export specified final products. However, the manufacturing licence and supply approval for intermediate products will be relatively easy.