Uruguay looks to lead in cannabis research, Paraguay still in the dark ages


With marijuana still sitting unjustly on Schedule I of the controlled substances list here in the U.S., official in-depth studies on the specific effects that differing strains of weed can elicit have been limited, both in number and in scope.
Fortunately, the South American nation of Uruguay has recently legalized marijuana use on a national level, opening the door for a very willing and eager community of scientists and researchers to set up shop and begin to give ganja a long overdue honest lab-grade analysis.

Among the first studies to be announced comes out of the University of the Republic in the capitol city of Montevideo, where a mixed bag of different researchers have assembled to study the 85 different identified cannabinoids, as well as any new data they may uncover, to determine the effects of long-term cannabis use on human sleep behavior.
The differences between indica and sativa cannabis strains are as varied as the countless levels of hybrid options in between the two, but probably the most universally recognized contrast is that sativas are typically more cerebral and motivating, whereas indicas are usually more body-centered and relaxing. Comparing those various cannabinoid profiles on a molecular level is the aim of the study.
One of the men associated with the research team, a neurobiologist and sleep specialist named Atilio Falconi, is excited to begin the research, telling the El Observador newspaper, “There are uses and effects attributed to cannabis that interest us for analysis.”
The study is green-lit, and researchers now just wait for the full effects of the country’s new marijuana legalization laws to take effect. They plan to begin in April of this year. In the meantime, the new cultivation laws that came with legalization have kicked in for the most part, and have local growers split on where they stand on it all.

Juan Andres Palese, owner of a small grow supply shop called Urugrow, is happy to be able to step out of the shadows and into a legal market, allowing him to expand his business. “The law is a great way to start with this issue. For us it’s really useful. We have more customers, “he told the Associated Press last year when the new laws were passed by the voters.
However, the AP also interviewed another man who anonymously stated his resentment for the new laws, saying that the 6-plant limit was unjust, and that his refusal to adhere to it makes him a criminal by default.
One way or another, they need to solve their marijuana supply issue, as demand from locals and pot tourism only continues to get higher. As it stands now, a majority of the ganja being smoked in Uruguay is being imported from Paraguay.
While that may seem like a great gateway to pot legalization in Paraguay, and an eventual legal international cannabis trade agreement, Paraguay’s President Horacio Cartes has stated loudly and clearly that it’s not going to happen on his watch.
He preaches often about having watched former high school classmates “suffer and die”, as well as witnessing the alleged suffering of those around them. Yet, even with his strict anti-cannabis laws in place, Paraguay still ranks second in the Americas in pot production, behind only Mexico.
Keeping it illegal domestically means that all of that product hits the black market, mostly abroad in foreign markets – some as far away as Europe. The massive smuggling apparatus involved in moving so much weight inevitably leads to episodes of extreme violence across the Paraguayan countryside, when locals find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time.
To truly test the societal benefits of marijuana legalization, particularly when it comes to crime rates, Uruguay will need to find a way to cut off the flow of illegal weed pouring in from Paraguay, at least until their nearby neighbor to the north passes some new laws of its own.