As Uganda ponders to legalize marijuana growing and production, it is emerging that the weed could have direct positive impact on productivity of aging Ugandan workers if medically used.
The study, co-written by researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Temple University, and published in the Spring 2019 issue of the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, suggests that medical marijuana laws could facilitate an improved health lifestyle for older adults.
While the study examined older Americans' well-being before and after medical marijuana laws were passed, the findings could have a global implication and can easily be used as a benchmark for further research, especially in Africa. According to sciencedaily.com, the paper analyzed more than 100,000 responses from survey participants age 51 and older from 1992 to 2012.
Researchers found a 4.8 percent decrease in reported pain and a 6.6 percent increase in reported very good or excellent health among respondents with a health condition that would qualify for medical marijuana after their states passed medical marijuana laws relative to similar respondents whose states did not pass a law.
"Our study is important because of the limited availability of clinical trial data on the effects of medical marijuana," says Lauren Hersch Nicholas, PhD, assistant professor in the Bloomberg School's Department of Health Policy and Management.
"While several studies point to improved pain control with medical marijuana, research has largely ignored older adults even though they experience the highest rates of medical issues that could be treated with medical marijuana."
At the moment, 20 companies have reportedly applied to ministry of health to be licensed to plant and produce marijuana for medical use. Daily Monitor reports that two of them - Industrial Hemp (U) Ltd and Together Pharma Ltd - are licensed to do so.
The others whose applications are pending are Natgro Phama (U) Ltd, Medraw (U) SMC Ltd, Urban Properties (U) Ltd, Prime Ranchers, Silver Seeds (U) Ltd, Dave and Dave Group, Seven Blades, Cannops Africa, Quest Worths International Group, Premier Hemp, Sativa Agro-tech Ltd, Zeus Agro Ltd and Owesia U Ltd.
Health minister, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, reveals that marijuana has medicinal properties but are still under research. “It has been proven it can be used in reducing pain in cancer patients but even then research is still ongoing. There is also research in areas of mental illnesses such as schizophrenia in cases of epilepsy; it’s still undergoing research.”
But Dr. Aceng’s deputy minister, the state minister for health, Ms Sarah Opendi warned that marijuana growing without proper control measures can be dangerous to the country's youthful population. "Already it is the second highest cause for the Butabika hospital admissions; majority of whom are youth," she told Daily Monitor.
The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act 2015 allows cultivation, production and exportation of medical marijuana and mandates the minister to issue written consent for medical marijuana.