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Новости/Аналитика

Prospects for using technical hemp for medical purposes

02.03.2017

The relatively high content of cannabidiol in plant biomass of commercial cannabis cultivars permitted for cultivation in the territory of the Russian Federation and the normatively low level of THC in them allow industrial hemp to be considered as a potentially lucrative crop for the production of feedstock for the production of medicinal substances based on cannabidiol. The profitability of cultivating cannabis for multilateral use, including pharmaceuticals, as compared to cannabis cultivation only for hemp and / or seeds, can be significantly increased if it is possible to create hemp varieties with a higher content of CBD while maintaining a consistently low legally permissible content of THC.
 
Hemp has been widely used in folk medicine for the treatment of various diseases (cough, fatigue, rheumatism, asthma, white fever, headache, etc.). The plant was part of the pharmacopeia reference books of many countries of the world, including the USSR. But in the second half of the twentieth century, hemp was excluded from the pharmacopeial reference book of the USSR. Since the same time, the medical use of cannabis in Russia is practically prohibited (in Ukraine at the moment, a similar situation). The reason for this is that the plant synthesizes tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is listed in the list of substances whose turnover is banned in our country.
 
Already the last several decades in Russia, for industrial purposes, only technical hemp varieties listed in the State Register of Selection Achievements are permitted to cultivate for hemp and oil. These varieties contain in the dry mass of leaves and inflorescences of the upper parts of plants no more than 0.1% THC. Such a low THC content makes the production of a narcotic drug for an illegal market economically not cost-effective and practically impossible in artisanal conditions. In 2016, the State Register included 22 varieties and 3 hybrids of cannabis of traditional purpose (fiber, seeds, oil). These varieties in Russia are considered to be non-narcotic.
 
However, in recent years, the cultivation of cannabis for medical (pharmacological) purposes has been increasingly spreading abroad. The plant is grown as a source of valuable pharmacological raw materials - cannabidiol (CBD). On the basis of CBD, a new class of drugs has been created for effective drug prevention and treatment of a wide range of socially incompatible and deadly diseases. Drugs based on CBD have a number of therapeutic advantages in comparison with other herbal medicines. So, used in modern medicine analgesic drugs (analgesics) affect opioid receptors, often addictive and require an increase in dosage. Drugs based on natural CBD affect specific cannabinoid receptors and are not addictive. Medications developed on the basis of cannabinoids cannabis are used in the treatment of HIV-infected patients, leukemia, epilepsy, asthma, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, ulcers and other neuromuscular disorders.
 
Cannabidiol belongs to the class of natural cannabinoids, but, unlike THC, is not listed in the narcotic drugs. In modern varieties of medicinal hemp, the content of CBD can reach up to 20% of the dry weight, while in technical hemp varieties the content of CBD does not exceed 3.5% in most cases.
 
CBD is the main component of the cannabinoid complex of technical hemp. In modern breeding varieties of medicinal (non-narcotic) hemp cultivated abroad, up to 20% of THC (in terms of dry weight) is contained in the apical part. In modern breeding varieties of technical (non-narcotic) cannabis grown abroad, up to 0.3% of THC is contained. This value of THC is recognized as a threshold for technical hemp. In our country, in technical hemp varieties, the content of THC does not exceed 0.1%. At the same time, the content of CBD in cultivated Russian hemp varieties is usually one or two orders of magnitude higher than that of THC. The profitability of cultivating technical hemp for industrial purposes as a source of CBD in the Russian Federation has not been studied before.
 
The purpose of the work was to determine the content of CBD in plant raw materials of technical hemp varieties cultivated in the Middle Volga region in order to assess the profitability of cultivation as a source of CBD.
 
The objects of investigation were hemp plants of inoculum varieties Vera, Nadezhda, Surskaya, grown in nurseries of original seed production.
 
Results
 
In order to determine the profitability of cultivation of technical hemp as a source of CBD, the percentage of the main cannabinoids in the samples of technical hemp (dry weight of leaves and inflorescences of the upper parts of the plant) was determined.
 
It was found that in the case of wide-sowing, the mass of leaves and inflorescences obtained from one plant and dried to constant weight averaged 6.40 g (maximum 14.03 g, minimum 1.5 g).
 
The average calculated yield of the plant mass of panicles (excluding the central stem) from one hectare was 3,672 kg (at a rate of sowing 0.9 million pieces / ha seed, field germination 75%, conservation to harvest 85%).
 
The costs of cannabis cultivation, harvesting of leaves and inflorescences of the upper parts of the plant in the phase of "flowering - the beginning of seed ripening", drying and separation of the central stem amounted to 70 thousand rubles / ha. Thus, the estimated cost of 1 ton of dried leaves and inflorescences containing CBD was 19.4 thousand rubles.

Analysis of the content of cannabinoids in the plant mass showed that under the conditions of 2014-2016. The THC content was significantly lower than the normatively permissible level of 0.1%. The Central Russian varieties of industrial (technical) cannabis were characterized by a consistently low content of the main cannabinoids, the dominant of which was CBD. The average content of CBD in the plant mass was 1.91-2.27%.

Knowing the content of CBD in the dried plant mass and yield, we calculated the potential content of CBD in 1 ton of raw materials and the calculation fee from 1 ha of seeding.

Thus, in the conditions of the Penza region, the cost of growing technical hemp and harvesting plant raw materials (leaves and inflorescences of the upper parts of the plant), containing 1 g of CBD, averaged about 1 ruble.
 
It is known that in Canada the cost of wholesale of CBD, obtained from plant raw materials grown under the conditions of a greenhouse is about $ 3.50 per gram (about 210 rubles).
 
The foreign pharmaceutical market offers a huge number of drugs with CBD. Many brands, prices, concentrations and forms of release. At the same time, the cost of 1 mg of CBD ranges from $ 0.11 to $ 0.47 with an average price of $ 0.15 - $ 0.30.
 
Thus, in the near future in Russia can be widely used the plant mass of industrial (technical) hemp as a raw material for the production of medical CBD. This will allow agricultural producers to receive significantly greater profits than when cultivating cannabis for traditional use.
 
Conclusions
 
The relatively high content of cannabidiol in plant biomass of industrial (technical) varieties of Central Russian hemp allowed for cultivation in the territory of the Russian Federation and the normatively low level of THC content in them allow us to consider industrial hemp as a potentially lucrative crop for the production of medicinal substances on the basis of cannabidiol.
 
The profitability of cultivating cannabis for multilateral use, including pharmaceuticals, as compared to cannabis cultivation only for hemp and / or seeds, can be significantly increased if it is possible to create hemp varieties with a higher content of CBD while maintaining a consistently low legally permissible content of THC.
 
The comment of the scientist-seliktsioner, doctor of agricultural sciences Layko I.M.
 
Medical scientists of many countries of the world (Israel, the USA, Italy, Germany, Spain, etc.) began to emphasize the effectiveness of treatment of many diseases with drugs from non-narcotic hemp. In cannabis, along with the narcotic compound tetrahydrocannabinol, other cannabinoids have been identified: cannabidiol (CBD), cannabinol (CBN), cannabichromen (CBH), cannabigirol (CBG), which have therapeutic properties. This is all the more urgent because these compounds are natural, not synthetic.
 
It is very important that their amount in such hemp grow to 3-5%, while THC should remain at a level not exceeding 0.08%. The materials of the study of Russian colleagues showed a high profitability of cultivating technical varieties of cannabis of Russian selection with the selection of leaves and inflorescences and processing them for extracting CBD, the content of which is from 1, 91 to 2.27%. However, the content of THC in the varieties of the Russian selection "Surskaya", "Vera" and "Nadezhda" is 0.07%, which in the process of processing can significantly increase. Therefore, the task of Ukrainian breeders is the creation of a socially safe selection material for THC, but with a high content of pharmacologically valuable new cannabinoid components. In this direction, and studies are conducted. A new source material is currently being reproduced.
Author: 
Zelenina O.N., Galiakhmetova I.A., Serkov V.A.
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