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Japan Considers Cannabis Research

Jul 14, 2016 09:44AM ● By Randy Robinson

"Marijuana Leaf" by Daniel Ng (2007) (from Flickr Creative Commons)

Japan is hardly a country known for its cannabis. The plant is fairly rare there, even on the black market. However, the Land of the Rising Sun is home to a small but growing movement for medical access to cannabis.

Saya Takagi, a member of Japan's New Renaissance Party, said, "We are proposing lifting the ban on research to see what the truth is. I wish for the earliest possible start of research and the introduction of medical marijuana."

According to Reuters, this push for medical cannabis isn't being led by upstart youth looking to party. Rather, support comes from Japan's seniors, who currently make up a quarter of the nation's population. Supporters believe cannabis can replace or supplement pharmaceuticals that fail to control symptoms of age-related illnesses such as chronic pain, cancer, and dementia. 

recent study from the Salk Institute suggests cannabis may help in the prevention of Alzheimer's. Nearly 5 million people in Japan have been diagnosed with the disease, which leads to severe memory loss and neurological degeneration in elderly people. At the moment, there is no cure.