Medical Cannabis: Research on Its Antimicrobial use Advances in Argentina

Argentina’s investment in cannabis research is starting to pay off big time. Several promising projects are making headlines for their unorthodox but potentially highly lucrative (and important) consequences. Such as that run by medical researcher Paulo Maffia at the National University of Hurlingham exploring cannabis’s use to combat increasingly dangerous skin infections.

Paulo Maffia is the lucky director of the project that is now being carried out at the National University of Hurlingham in Argentina. But the project was not easy to launch, first they had to obtain the approval of the Ministry of Health for the cultivation of cannabis for academic purposes. And things are looking up for this crucial research throughout the country!

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Argentina Opens University Doors to Cannabis Research

Last May, four national universities received good news, as their projects for the cultivation, research and production of cannabis sativa for therapeutic or medicinal purposes received approval from the Ministry of Health. The main objective of these initiatives is to find the best strain for use as a medicine, and to ensure quality throughout the process, which involves cultivation under controlled conditions.

That approval went to the universities of La Plata (UNLP), Tucumán (UNT), Patagonia San Juan Bosco (UNPSJB), and finally, the National University of Hurlingham (UNAHUR), where the project is led by Pilar researcher Paulo Maffia.

Groundbreaking Cannabis Research Gets Under the Skin

The intention of this initiative is to generate creams or topical products for skin infections caused by burns, diabetes or ulcerative wounds. In this regard, the district resident explained: “Cannabis sativa represents an interesting source of antibacterial agents to address the problem of multi-resistance to antibiotics in pathogenic bacteria, which represents one of the biggest public health problems worldwide and is constantly growing”.

This is a very particular project, as the study of cannabis in the area of microbiology is in its infancy, while most research is conducted on neurological or neurodegenerative pathologies.

However, it ensures that its potential is very great, not only in terms of health but also economically, to promote different treatments that can otherwise be very costly

Along these lines, Maffia, who last year was also in the limelight for his research on potential treatments for the coronavirus, said that now is the time to “carry out research that scientifically proves the benefits that we are seeing empirically”.

Research is only the First Step of a Lengthy but Profitable Process

The researcher added that, together with his team, they are “working on the evaluation with different strains of bacteria, with good results”. “This is very good news,” he said.

He also pointed out that while this stage of “analysis in the laboratory is progressing, then we will have to move on to the formulation of creams and gels, then to pre-clinical testing, and eventually receive the approval of regulatory bodies for their use. In the case of Argentina, the ANMAT”.

Finally, he referred in this line to the importance of having the possibility of generating our own cultures. “It is essential that we have a germplasm bank and that the different varieties are identified, because even in the country there are certainly some of our own, but as they are not registered, they cannot be given the value they deserve. In this way, we can count on the traceability of the product we work with and value is given to our own resources,” he said.

He concluded by pointing out that people often buy cannabis-based products, but are not specifically prepared to respond to a pathology. “There could be anything on the black market, which is why it is essential that this be done,” he concluded.

(Featured image Jakub Matyáš via Unsplash)

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Anne Kings is a reporter for the financial sector, often tackling Wall Street and shareholders’ interests. She also covers the intersection of media and technology, and delves into interesting topics on entertainment. Sometimes she also writes about the cannabis industry, in particular CBD and hemp. She is currently based in New York.

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