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What is the cannabis plant?

At the center of the storm surrounding the Narcotics Control Bureau’s investigation into alleged drug trafficking in connection with actor Rhea Chakraborty, who was released on bail by the Bombay High Court on October 7, following the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput and what has now become an “investigation” to “uproot the drug citadel in Bollywood” is a plant that goes by many names: cannabis, hemp, marijuana or marijuana.

  • As powerful as different parts of your anatomy are, not all of them constitute a crime under the Narcotic Control and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS) of 1985.

What is the cannabis plant?

  • According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cannabis is a generic term used to refer to the various psychoactive preparations of the Cannabis sativa plant.
  • The main psychoactive component of cannabis is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) Delta-9. The Mexican name “marijuana” is frequently used to refer to cannabis leaves or other raw plant material in many countries.
  • Most species of cannabis are dioecious plants that can be identified as male or female.
  • Unpollinated female plants are called hashish. Cannabis oil (hash oil) is a concentrate of cannabinoids, compounds structurally similar to THC, obtained by solvent extraction of plant raw material or resin.
  • The WHO says cannabis is by far the most widely cultivated, sold and consumed illicit drug in the world.

How does NDPS define cannabis?

  • According to NDPS law, “cannabis plant” refers to any plant of the cannabis genus. Legislation passed in 1985 succeeded the Dangerous Drugs Act 1930.
  • It was introduced when lawmakers felt that previous legislation providing for a maximum sentence of four years was not tough enough to control drug trafficking.
  • In Article 2 (iii), the law defines cannabis (hemp). The subsections refer to the parts of the plant which fall within the scope of the law.
  • “Charas” is the separate resin extracted from the cannabis plant. The NDPS Act covers separate raisins in any form whether raw or purified obtained from the cannabis plant and also includes the concentrated preparation and resin known as hash oil or liquid hash.
  • According to a 2018 WHO report from the Secretariat of the Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD), “The resin may look like a plant resinous secretion, which occurs in glandular trichomes, but it also occurs as plant matter fine, which looks like a loose or compacted sticky powder, depending on the production method. “Charas is also commonly referred to as ‘hash’.
  • Section 2 (iii) (b) of the NDPS Act defines “ ganja ” as the flowering or fruiting tips of the cannabis plant, but clearly excludes seeds and leaves, when not accompanied by the tips. , of any name which may be known or designated. Street names for the drug include “weed” and “marijuana”.
  • The law also prohibits any mixture, with or without neutral material, of one of the two forms of cannabis, charas and ganja, or any drink prepared from it.

Are substances made from cannabis leaves also illegal under NDPS?

  • No. As defined in the law, the legislature has left the seeds and leaves of the cannabis plant outside the scope of the NDPS law.
  • The jagged leaves of the plant have negligible THC content. THC is the psychoactive or intoxicating compound present in the cannabis plant which is primarily responsible for giving users the “high” “Bhang”, commonly consumed at festivals such as Holi, is a paste made from the leaves of the cannabis plant and is therefore not prohibited.
  • Likewise, CBD oil, an acronym for cannabidiol derived from the cannabis plant, which emerged in NCB’s investigation of WhatsApp discussions between Sushant Singh Rajput’s talent manager, Jaya Saha, and Rhea Chakraborty, Saha’s lawyer said he would not be subject to NDPS law.
  • “Our research shows that CBD oil is made from the leaves of the cannabis plant and therefore does not appeal to NDPS,” said criminal lawyer Ayaz Khan, who represents Saha. Information on the “CiBiDiUM” brand bottle of the oil that Saha suggested Rhea could give to Rajput, indicated that it did not contain THC. Khan also noted that the vial did not have the “NRx” sign that prescription drugs that contain substances that may be under the NDPS law must have according to Section 97 (c) of the Drug and Cosmetics Act that refers to drug labeling. So why is the use of CBD oil still controversial in India?
  • The NDPS law does not allow the recreational use of cannabis in India. While CBD oil made under a license under the Drug and Cosmetics Act of 1940 can be used legally, it is not very common. Some Indian websites sell CBD oil by prescription and many even make it easy.
  • Former AIIMS Department of Psychiatry Director Dr. Sudhir Khandewal said: “Some states in the US have legalized CBD oil, but we do not prescribe it here. The cannabis content is very low and contains very little THC and has no addictive properties. More than anxiety and depression, it has been shown to be helpful in treating cancer and multiple myeloma. For associated symptoms of cancer, it has been shown to be helpful. There have been several discussions about this. Cannabis is embroiled in so much controversy. It shouldn’t have been in NDPS law, but unfortunately it is.
  • “We are always struggling with drugs to treat cancer and mental illness, that’s why everyone complains and people want to try them too. CBD also has a non-specific recommendation. People think it will at least have a “feel good” factor or will cheer the person up, ” they said.
  • Doctors said many people with anxiety and depression are known to buy it legally in the US and bring it to India for personal use in small quantities.
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