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Cannabis

Learn more about the plant
  
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Cannabis

Cannabis is a plant with hundreds of different varieties and few thousands of beneficial uses that has been used by mankind for thousands of years.
In the 20th century, in the grossest of unscientific manners, its euphoric dimension was criminalized and its use was banned altogether. But this situation is now changing.
Today, at the dawn of the 21st century, there is a creative volatility developing around the cannabis plant. Dozens are the countries that have already changed their legislation, the World Health Organization has officially recognized its therapeutic properties and the scientific community is discovering a new wealth of medical applications daily.
From the US, Uruguay, Canada, Australia and Israel to our neighboring Balkans and in many European countries, development and investment interest in the medical, nutritional and industrial use of cannabis are seen to be on the rise.
Ignorance, stigma and misinformation are quickly being replace by scientific evidence, innovation and entrepreneurship.

  

The History of the Plant

Cannabis has been used by mankind since times of the ice age- for at least the last 12,000 years- while during the Stone Age it was already being used throughout Europe and Asia.
"The Gift of the Gods" was used extensively in China 5,000 years ago, as well as in Egypt and India over 4,000 years ago, mainly for its therapeutic, textile and nutritional use.
References to the healing and euphoric effects of cannabis, as well as its use in rites and rituals, are to be found in texts by Herodotus, Galinos and Demokritos.
In 1977, the well-known astrophysicist Carl Sagan estimated that Cannabis had to have been the first plant to be systematically cultivated by man, which surely has contributed decisively to the development of human civilization itself.

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Cannabis Sativa L (Hemp) and Industrial Use

In the early 19th century, 80% of all textile products were made from cannabis fibers.
Other products included paper, rope, fabrics, and most notably the sailcloth of the ships that brought Europeans to the coasts of Africa and America.
The canvases on which the most renowned paintings of the Renaissance were created were also made from hemp fiber, as well as the paper on which Guttenberg printed the first Bible.
The much-loved magazine Popular Mechanics (US) in 1938 described industrial cannabis as the "new billion dollar crop", stating that it can be used to produce more than 25,000 products, from dynamite to cellophane. The crops of the plant are environmentally friendly because their watering needs are lesser than other fibrous plants, such as cotton, and because they have a number of properties that reduce the use of environmentally harmful chemicals while at the same time absorbing significant amounts of carbon and pollutants.
Hemp food is considered to be superfood and contain all the amino acids and omega-3 fats that the body needs.
Cannabidiol (CBD) food supplements and natural cannabis cosmetics are consistently gaining ground and consumer preference for their beneficial properties. Hemp plastics are biodegradable, durable and safe for the environment, while it is also an ideal material for the production of eco-friendly insulation and construction materials, thus creating space for a revolution in the field of building materials.
Innovative applications such as filler material for three-dimensional printers, graphene for batteries, biofuel, nanomaterials from hemp cellulose and many other uses are at the heart of current applied research.

  

Medicinal use of Cannabis

Now, at the dawn of the 21st century, cannabis is to be found on the cutting edge of international scientific research. Cannabis has been proven to be less harmful and addictive than either alcohol or tobacco.
Dozens of scientists, universities and research centers across the globe are struggling to recover the time lost over policies that banned and demonized the plant, and to acknowledge the beneficial role it can play in an endless list of illnesses and their symptoms.
From epilepsy, fibromyalgia, glaucoma, HIV / AIDS, Huntington's disease, leukemia and liver disease, to migraines, multiple sclerosis and muscular dystrophy, neuropathic pain, spasticity, autism, osteoporosis, Parkinson's disease, PTSD, as well as skin, lung, pancreas, breast and prostate cancer, cannabis awaits its affirmation as a valuable palliative and therapeutic tool.
In the United States, Canada, Australia, Israel and in several European countries, cannabis is already prescribed for a number of diseases. More than 500 million people now have legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use.

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Economics of Cannabis

In 2014, the UN estimated that cannabis is currently used by 182 million people, almost 3.9% of the world's population. The global illicit cannabis market is estimated to exceed $145 billion a year.
According to a recent survey (Brightfield Group 2017), the legitimate global market for medical and adult cannabis use in 2017 reached $7.7 billion. The same market is estimated to reach $31.4 billion by 2021.
A similar survey (Ameri Research Inc) raises the global legitimate cannabis market for 2016 to $14.3 billion and estimates the market will reach $63.5 billion by 2024.
Another recent analysis (European Cannabis Report 2017, Prohibition Partners), estimates that if all European countries were to legalize Cannabis, the legal market would reach €56.2 billion, of which €35.7 billion corresponds to medical cannabis and €20.5 billion to recreational use.
According to industry professionals, over the next decade in Europe, more than 10 million patients will be able to get cannabis and will be forming a market of $30-40 billion.
The market for Cannabidiol products (CBD) for medicine, food and food supplements is expected to grow by 700% by 2020 to $ 2.1 billion. Of this sum, $450 million will be coming from CBD products produced from hemp (Forbes 2017).
The global market for foodstuffs produced from hemp is valued at 200 million euros, and the European equivalent at €40 million, which has been steadily increasing in recent years (EIHA 2017).
In the US, in 2016, legitimate cannabis sales increased by 30% to $6.7 billion, and are expected to exceed $20 billion by 2021.
150,000 new jobs were created by the US cannabis market and by 2020 it is expected that the number of cannabis workers in the US will be greater than that of construction workers.

  

The Economy of Cannabis in Greece

In our country we consume – based on conservative estimates - 200 to 300 kg of cannabis per day, that is- 8 tons per month. An amount that is equivalent to €768 million a year, which all ends up on the black market - as things stand.
Overall, it is estimated that more than 4,000 field jobs could be created from the cultivation and processing of the plant for industrial use.
Moderate estimates indicate that if Greece is to follow pace in adopting alternative treatment with the use of medical cannabis for an estimated 110,000 patients, more than 7,000 new jobs will be created.
Greek patients facing a variety of medical issues are expected to benefit from the pharmaceutical use of cannabis at a medium term estimate of 220-250 thousand, forming a market surpassing the 500 million mark and creating more than 10,000 jobs.

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