Various medical cannabis organizations in Chile began harvesting Latin America’s largest single crop of legal cannabis on Wednesday.
The field, which is the most expansive on the continent, lies in rural southern Chile, not far from the Andes Mountains.
The harvesting project was given the go-ahead by the Chilean government, and will cut down the buds of some 6,000 cannabis plants for transformation into various phytopharmaceuticals for the country’s 4,000 medical cannabis patients.
All of this is being done for free. The purpose of the project is to provide cannabis for use in three clinical studies, which will be run by the Chilean National Cancer Institute and two hospitals.
Ana Maria Gazmuri, president of the Daya Foundation, said that “it is an important day. We want it to be the first harvest of many more to come in Latin American countries.” The Daya Foundation promotes alternative therapy research.
The clinical studies are being funded by 20 municipalities, and will focus on the effectiveness of cannabis in treating patients suffering from cancer, refractory epilepsy and chronic pain.
Chile legalized the production and sale of hemp-derived drugs last December. Puerto Rico and Colombia have recently followed suit.
Although marijuana remains on Chile’s list of hard drugs, Chilean president Michelle Bachelet signed an order at the end of 2015 that gave the Institute of Public Health the power to authorize the production of marijuana for medicinal purposes.
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