Jamaica begins major review of medical cannabis

The government of Jamaica has begun a major evaluation of medical cannabis.

The Scientific Research Council (SRC) will undertake extensive trials and tests, particularly into the drug’s effectiveness in the treatment of cancer.

Executive director Dr Cliff Riley, speaking during an event organised by the government’s Jamaica Information Service (JIS), says the initiative has been undertaken in partnership with the Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA).

He said: “Public safety is one of the major focuses of the SRC, and we aim to always use advanced technologies to ensure that precise information is provided, which can guide policy and can also inform the public in terms of making good decisions.”

He added that the SRC has invested heavily in acquiring advanced equipment to conduct reliable tests and evaluations so it can produce credible information to various stakeholders.

Dr Riley also indicated that the SRC also has the capabilities to test the entire spectrum of terpenes — the taste profiles and aroma of cannabis — which have been linked to the treatment of cancer.

Cannabis in Jamaica is legal, but possession of up to two ounces (56.6 grams) is a petty offence, and will not result in a criminal record.

Cultivation of five or fewer plants is permitted.

Medical cannabis has shown signs of being an effective treatment for severe epilepsy conditions, such as Dravet Syndrome.

It has also been used in cases of nausea control for cancer patients who are undergoing chemotherapy.

Research indicates medical cannabis is effective for pain relief and fighting inflammation.