Published on: 27/09/2023
MARIJUANA ENTERS THE UNIVERSITIES OF THE FAIR LAND: ITALIAN STUDENTS CAN NOW STUDY CANNABINOLOGY
The implementation of law no. 242 of 2016, which authorized the trade of products derived from CBD flower, has been received as a step towards overcoming the cannabis taboo.
Since then, those who stood against prohibition have expected the Italian authorities to follow, but, these expectations have largely been unfulfilled, as evidenced by the recent rejection of the referendum for the decriminalization of domestic marijuana cultivation for personal use.
Despite this, cannabis supporters have got an important result following the entry of hemp into Italian universities: University of Padua, in fact, has introduced a new course in cannabinology.
Here’s what it is.
Cannabinology as a Study Subject in Italian Universities: Here’s How It Happened
University of Padua, actually, wasn’t the first Italian institution to introduce the study of cannabis (and associated substances such as the pre rolled CBD). Previously, La Sapienza, indeed, offered students in the master’s degree program in Applied Social Sciences the opportunity to enroll in an extracurricular workshop on the theme of “Socio-Economic Analysis of the Cannabis Market.”
However, the new cannabinology course introduced by University of Padua has been paid much more attention to, likely due to its scientific approach focusing on studying the pharmacological properties of the plant.
This initiative was promoted by the Neuroscience department of the university in collaboration with Cannabiscienza, an organization supporting professional development in the field of medical cannabis, and is structured to cover the following topics:
- The Italian laws regulating the cultivation, processing, and pharmacological use of Cannabis Sativa L.;
- The chemical characteristics of this plant and its use in various sectors (food, textiles, medical, etc.);
- The therapeutic use of cannabis for treating specific pathologies;
- The functioning of the endocannabinoid system.
Indeed, starting from October 23, 2023, the new course titled “Cannabinology: The Cannabis Plant and the Endocannabinoid System (3rd Edition)” will commence.
What are the Prospects Opened by Cannabinology in the Medical Field?
The University of Padua’s initiative has provoked various reactions: on one hand, some consider this new course a significant step forward towards cannabis approval. On the other hand, numerous Italians have responded to the news with indifference or outright hostility, bothered by the juxtaposition of marijuana and education.
The fact is that many still fail to see the benefits associated with educating qualified professionals in the field of hemp. Studying cannabinology, indeed, doesn’t mean satisfying one’s curiosity about the effects of a mind-altering substance: it stands for aligning oneself with the horizons opened by the results of medical research on cannabis.
The use of therapeutic cannabis has been spreading for several years, there is no point in denying it. This phenomenon should be combined with education of the medical professionals specialized in the pharmacological use of this plant.
Well, this is the context in which University of Padua’s initiative should be evaluated. As scientific research gathers, gradually, new evidence about the therapeutic capabilities of cannabis, it is crucial for healthcare professionals to be updated in order to ensure the safety and take the full advantage of the medical potential of this plant.
Cannabinology in the Rest of the World: Where Do We Stand?
Hostility towards the idea of studying the pharmacological properties of hemp is not an exclusively Italian issue. Consider that, in the rest of the world, cannabinology is taught in universities of very few nations, including Canada and the United States.
In the U.S., particularly, the study of this plant is comprehensively approached through numerous courses offered by various colleges. This phenomenon is likely linked to the fact that the United States is the world’s largest cannabis producer and, as such, their industry requires qualified professionals in the hemp sector more than any other country.
The U.S.’ openness to these new disciplines can be appreciated, especially by analyzing the name of a degree program introduced by University of Colorado: “Biology and Chemistry of Marijuana.” What’s thought-provoking is the choice of the term used to refer to this plant: “marijuana” instead of “cannabis.”
This detail demonstrates how normalized hemp has become on the other side of the ocean. The term “marijuana,” indeed, has Mexican origins, but it was introduced in the U.S. during the 1930s, following a wave of prohibition that, for the first time, banned its production and consumption.
It was a choice driven by the intention to associate cannabis with an ethnic community that was perceived (wrongly) as being engaged in criminal activities, including drug consumption.
The use of this term within American universities clearly shows that U.S. authorities have decided to definitively overcome the cannabis taboo, a choice we hope will be followed by the Italian politics as well.
Read also: Cannabis-Like Plants: The 5 Most Common
In this article, we’ve explained how it’s possible to major in cannabinology at University of Padua and in which other countries around the world the study of this field has spread.
It’s understandable that after decades of criminalizing this plant, many Italians still view it as a threat rather than an opportunity. However, the results of an increasing number of studies highlighting its therapeutic properties cannot be ignored.
For this reason, the cannabinology degree program introduced by University of Padua should be considered a significant step forward for Italy, which all those patients can benefit from and can be treated by future doctors that acquired knowledge from the specialists in the pharmacological use of cannabis.
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