History of CBD and Cannabis In: Madagascar
The Republic of Madagascar is an island country located in Eastern Africa on the Indian Ocean. It is a country that is known to be one of the earliest evidence of human foraging, dating back as far as 10,000 years ago. Once referred to as the Malagasy Republic, Madagascar is the second-largest island country in the world with an area of over 228,000 square miles.
Through the centuries, the country was ruled by an assortment of political alliances. Between the 18th and 19th century Madagascar was ruled by a series of Merina nobles, in what was officially known at the time as the Kingdom of Imerina. Madagascar was under the monarchy until 1897, in which it then became part of the French colonial empire.
It was only in 1960 that Madagascar gained independence and became its own island nation. Gaining independence, Madagascar went through a series of its own constitutional periods (republics). Specifically, it went through four major republics from 1992 to the present day. The capital of the Republic of Madagascar is Antananarivo and the two official languages spoken are Malagasy and French.
Cannabis and Madagascar: A Brief History
Cannabis or locally known as “rangani” or “zamal,” is said to be native to Madagascar and has been on the island for at least two millennia. During the time when Madagascar was ruled by the Kingdom of Imerina, its ruler was King Andrianampoinimerina. During his reign, he found that cannabis was widely used among the locals and royal courtiers and found it to be an undesirable practice.
It is said that the practice of using cannabis, at the time, disagreed with the king because it made people “half-witted” and caused them to “leave” their senses. Thus, making consuming cannabis a capital crime during King Andrianampoinimerina’s reign.
When Madagascar became part of the French colonial empire, the French also had its views about cannabis, which were both positive and negative. France first viewed cannabis in a positive way, referring to the medicinal benefits it provided. Through the years, scientists and pharmacists created various hemp-based products like edibles, cigarettes, tinctures, and more.
At the time, cannabis was marketed as a “cure for all”. It was because of this that other scientists conducted their own experimentation of cannabis. The main finding that caused cannabis to be painted in a negative perspective was because of its intoxicating effects, which made it undesirable amongst authorities and consequently affecting the reputation of usage of cannabis in Madagascar.
Is Cannabis Illegal in The Republic of Madagascar?
Although cannabis is native to Madagascar and is produced and widely consumed locally, cannabis is illegal in the Republic of Madagascar. A source indicates that the penalties for possession and use of illegal drugs (general and not specific to cannabis) include prison sentences.
Why is Cannabis Illegal in Madagascar?
Cannabis contains various chemical compounds, one of which is called THC or tetrahydrocannabinol. THC is the chemical compound that produces euphoric or intoxicating effects when consuming cannabis, making it a psychoactive and addictive substance that gives cannabis a bad reputation. As mentioned there are various other compounds found in the cannabis plant, CBD is another compound.
CBD or cannabidiol is the reason why cannabis can be utilized for therapeutic and medicinal purposes. Unlike THC, cannabidiol is non-psychoactive and non-addictive, so it does not get you “high”. CBD can be found in various forms from oil, tea, creams, lotions, and more. CBD may help alleviate symptoms associated with anxiety, sleeplessness, chronic pain, and more.