By Chioma Obinna
The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, PSN, has dissociated itself from a call by one of its members, Dr Samuel Adekoya, to legalise Indian hemp for medical use even as it urged the media and the general public to disregard such claims.
PSN had alleged that Adekola had on Sunrise Daily, of the Channels Television, last Friday made some unsubstantiated and uncorroborated claims that Nigerian Pharmacists support legalising Indian Hemp for medical use.
In press stamen made available to Vanguard and signed by the National Publicity Secretary, Pharm. Ijeoma Okey – Ewurum explained that the Pharmacotherapeutics, Pharmacodynamics, and Pharmacokinetics of cannabis (marijuana, Indian Hemp, etc.) and its derivatives have been known to us, right from the schools of Pharmacy and there is no doubt of some scientific evidence that medicinal cannabis (not regular street cannabis) has some benefits in treating terminally ill patients with cancer and some other chronic painful conditions.
“The December 2nd 2020, meeting of the UN, severally, referred to at that TV interaction was for rescheduling of cannabis, from the dangerous drug list, and not for immediate impact on loosening international control, as countries, will still have jurisdiction over how to classify Cannabis, based on research and political will for effective regulation.
“Pharmacists share the concern of most Nigerian public who expressed worries over this claim, as it is premature and assaults Public Health and societal sanity.
“With our weak drug laws and chaotic drug distribution system, legalising Cannabis for medical use now will only increase items in the bouquet of substances of abuse and will be like letting loose a hand grenade.
“We support robust research of Cannabis, devoid of pecuniary interest, given its harmful effect on the brain, especially the young developing brain (the most vulnerable group of Substance Abuse)and its strong association with psychosis and reports of fast-tracking the age of onset of psychotic illnesses.
“The PSN is conscious of the huge burden of Drug and substance abuse and the alarming rate of suicide in our country, and is working very hard with the National Assembly to see that the Pharmacy Bill is passed into law to provide the legal basis for commensurate sanctions on Pharmacists who fall short of ethical standards and handling of poisons and psychotropic substances,” she explained.
She added that the PSN President, Pharm Sam. Ohuabunwa, remained the spokesman of Nigerian Pharmacists, adding that the media and the Nigerian public should disregard the claim made by Adekola as he lacks the authority to speak on behalf of society.
“We promise Nigerians that Pharmaceutical Care under our watch will balance science and economic gains with protection and preservation of Public Health and Sanity,” Okey – Ewurum stated.