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Referred to as the “miracle oil”, cannabidiol, better known as CBD, is a therapeutic oil that through years of research has proven to have healing effects on a variety of medical conditions without causing unwanted side effects. CBD is a compound found in both hemp and cannabis and is usually administered orally under the tongue – its purpose is to boost the endocannabinoid system that is naturally found in the body. This “oil from heaven” does not contain the same compounds found in marijuana that is usually rolled and smoked for recreational reasons. Marijuana features two key compounds CBD and THC. CBD is thought of as the healing compound while THC, or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, allows the body to experience a ‘high’ that most people associate with recreational users. These two compounds react with different receptors in the brain and in turn, produce different effects.

What has happened since legalisation in Malta?
Malta’s stance on CBD and its legalisation is not entirely clear. While The 2015 Drug Dependence Act provided the foundation for future use of medical-grade marijuana; the cultivation and dispensing of such a prescribed drug took quite a while to come into effect. A prescription for the drug can only be obtained from government-approved physicians and the cost was set at a far higher price to that of the street market value for ‘regular’ weed. 2018 saw an opportunity for the country to define itself as the ‘medical cannabis capital of Europe’ (as explained well at both and and officially legalised medical marijuana with the Production of Cannabis for Medicinal and Research Purposes Act introduced to the public. While patients prescribed CBD in Malta have access to the treatment; the cost is not stable in the slightest. Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is usually bought as a tincture and fetches around €70 per bottle for the top-grade stuff; but local authorities are talking about an increase in price that could adopt astronomical prices of €1,500 for the same amount and grade of the product. Ultimately; the product is available under government-approved physicians, at an astronomical cost with laws disallowing importation of the product into Malta. Not entirely revolutionary.

Will Malta legalise CBD for recreational use?
Legalisation of CBD oil for recreational use is yet a big question mark in Maltese society. While activists such as Releaf Malta push for the legalisation, education and regularisation of marijuana use in Malta. There are many who support the cause and hope that ‘self-medicating’ will be a possibility on local shores, but; the question remains… will recreational use of CBD cost the same as the medical grade? And will it only be available in oil form? What about THC rich products? Will they find their way to our culture in a legal and regularised way?

While the Medcann World Forum 2019 is set to take place in Malta at the Mediterranean Conference Centre from the 19th to 21st November, news and updates on the industry are scarce. The reasons for legalisation of CBD for medical marijuana in Malta are unclear; the benefits on the public could work wonders for anxiety, depression, chronic pain, degenerative diseases and a number of other conditions, the cost though, unattainable for the majority who need it.

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