A package of amendments to the country’s cannabis laws has been approved this month by the Czech Republic’s Chamber of Deputies, according to HempToday. If made into law, the initiative will give a major boost to the local CBD and hemp industry.
One of the most important changes proposed in the bill is the raising of the legal limits of THC both in hemp and its products to 1%.
THC—in contrast to CBD or cannabidiol—is the psychoactive constituent of the cannabis plant, meaning that it produces the ‘high’ in users. Currently, the EU allows the production of hemp and hemp products that contain 0.3% THC. Anything above this threshold is considered an illegal narcotic.
Such low limits give very little breathing room to farmers because under certain conditions even the right hemp genetics can run ‘hot’ and produce a crop with a THC limit above the 0.3% mark. Moreover, higher-THC cultivars tend to synthesize higher levels of CBD as well. This makes further processing of plant material and isolation of CBD and other therapeutic components easier and more profitable.
CBD—which is short for cannabidiol—has been making headlines in recent years as an effective medicine and wellness product. Now a part of the mainstream, especially in North America, the use of CBD for various conditions and symptoms is getting traction in the medical community. A review of scientific literature has demonstrated that the substance is well tolerated, has only mild side effects, and is effective for social anxiety disorder and symptomatic improvement in schizophrenia among others.
A slew of anecdotal evidence and several studies indicate the efficacy of CBD for convulsions and seizures, anxiety, depression, PTSD, various pains and aches, inflammation, as well as sleep disorders. A CBD-based drug, Epidiolex, is the first-ever FDA-approved medicine derived from a cannabis plant. It is given to children with intractable epilepsy. In short, CBD is not a scam, but a powerful therapeutic substance with a bright future.
Currently, the manufacturing and sale of CBD are allowed under Czech laws. There are many shops in Prague and elsewhere that offer CBD oils, tinctures, cosmetics, and similar products, but also CBD flowers and CBD hash meant for smoking. The country has also decriminalized the possession of small personal amounts of recreational cannabis, as well as the cultivation of up to five plants. In the same shops that sell CBD, one can purchase cannabis seeds from FastBuds and other major producers.
The medical use of cannabis is legal in the country. Moreover, 90% of the cost of cannabis medicine must be covered by insurance if the amount is up to 30g monthly. The total maximum amount prescribed by a physician can be 180g monthly. Due to various hurdles, only 0.04% of the country’s population has access to this program at the moment.
The new package of amendments could allow more manufacturers, distributors, and import/export companies to enter the burgeoning market and make the Czech Republic one of the major hubs for the legal hemp and cannabis industry.
The bill has still to pass the Senate and be signed into law by President Miloš Zeman, but advocates agree that there is broad support for the reform among all major political parties. They expect the law to pass and become effective in January 2022.