Cannabinology course in Padua: how we can study cannabis in Italian universities

A course in cannabinology at the University of Padua

Marijuana enters the universities of the bel paese: now italian students can train in cannabinology

The introduction of Law 242 of 2 December 2016, by which the trade in legal hemp products was authorised, was welcomed as a step towards overcoming the cannabis taboo. Since then, those who have argued against prohibition have been waiting for the Italian authorities to continue along this path, but to tell the truth, these expectations have been largely unfulfilled, as evidenced by the recent rejection of the referendum to decriminalise home cultivation of marijuana for personal use.

Despite this, however, supporters of cannabis have obtained an actual result following the entry of hemp into Italian universities: the University of Padua has set up a new course in cannabinology. This is what it is all about. Stacks of university books

Cannabinology as a subject of study in Italian universities: here is how it happened

The University of Padua was not the first Italian university to introduce the study of cannabis. In 2019, La Sapienza offered students on the master’s degree course in Applied Social Sciences the possibility of enrolling in an extracurricular laboratory on the subject of ‘Socio-economic analysis of the cannabis market’. However, the new course in cannabinology introduced in 2021 by the University of Padua has received much more attention, probably due to its scientific focus on studying the plant’s pharmacological properties. This initiative has been promoted by the university’s Department of Neuroscience with the collaboration of Cannabiscienza, an organisation dedicated to professional updating in medical cannabis. It is structured to address the following topics:

  • the Italian laws regulating the cultivation, processing and pharmacological use of Cannabis Sativa L;
  • the chemical characteristics of this plant and its use in various sectors (food, textiles, medical, etc.);
  • the therapeutic use of cannabis for the treatment of specific pathologies;
  • the functioning of the endocannabinoid system.
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What are the prospects opened up by cannabinology in the medical field?

The initiative of the University of Padua has provoked various reactions. On the one hand, some consider this new course a significant step forward towards the clearance of cannabis. On the other, many Italians have greeted the news with coldness or open hostility, annoyed by the marijuana-education juxtaposition. The problem is that many still fail to see the advantages of training qualified professionals in the field of hemp. Studying cannabinology does not mean satisfying one’s curiosity about the effects of a narcotic substance: it means training oneself in line with the horizons opened up by the results of medical research on hemp. The use of medical cannabis has been spreading for several years now, needless to deny. And this phenomenon should be accompanied by the training of medical professionals specialised in the pharmacological use of this plant. It is in this perspective that the initiative of the University of Padua must be assessed. As scientific research gathers new evidence on the therapeutic capacities of cannabis, health professionals should be brought up to date to make the best and safest use of the medicinal potential of this plant. Flag of the United States of America

Cannabinology in the rest of the world: where do we stand?

The hostility towards studying the pharmacological properties of hemp is not an exclusively local problem. Suffice it to say that, in the rest of the world, cannabinology is taught in the universities of very few countries, including Canada and the United States. In the USA, in particular, the study of this plant is tackled in the round thanks to numerous courses offered by various colleges. This phenomenon is probably linked to the fact that the United States is the world’s largest producer of cannabis. Hence, its industry needs more qualified hemp professionals than any other country. The openness of the United States towards these new disciplines can be particularly appreciated by analysing the name of a degree course introduced by the University of Colorado: ‘Marijuana Biology and Chemistry’. What gives one pause for thought is the choice of the term used to refer to this plant: marijuana and not cannabis. This detail shows how much hemp has been cleared through customs on the other side of the ocean. The word ‘marijuana’ is of Mexican origin but was introduced in the USA during the 1930s, following the wave of prohibition that banned its production and consumption for the first time. It was a choice dictated by a desire to associate cannabis with an ethnic community that was perceived (wrongly) as engaging in criminal acts, including drug use. The use of this term in American universities clearly shows that the US authorities have decided to definitively overcome the cannabis taboo, a choice that we hope will also be imitated by the Italian political class.

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In conclusion

This article explains how it is possible to train in cannabinology at the University of Padua. In other countries around the world, the study of this subject has spread. It is understandable that, after decades of criminalisation of this plant, many Italians still see it as a threat, not an opportunity. However, the results of an increasing number of studies that seem to highlight its therapeutic properties cannot be ignored. For this reason, the course of study in cannabinology introduced by the University of Padua must be considered a significant step forward for our country, from which all those patients who will be able to be treated by the doctors of the future will be able to benefit thanks to the knowledge acquired by specialists in the pharmacological use of cannabis. Don’t miss our content and visit our online store to choose between legal cannabis, hashish and CBD oil.

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