Oxford University to promote £10 million research on medical marijuana

Cannabis plant

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Kingsley has provided £10 million of funding to Oxford Cannabinoid Technologies, which will seek to identify new medicinal therapies by researching to role of cannabinoids in treatments.

Oxford University has joined forces with private equity and VC firm Kingsley Capital Partners for a research program into the use of cannabinoids to treat a range of acute and chronic conditions. It also has the backing of a number of well-known figures, including Sir Patrick Stewart, who has recently announced he uses medical cannabis daily to treat ortho-arthritis.

Smoking weed is still illegal in England and the country is yet to institute a medical marijuana program, but in 2016 lawmakers reclassified CBD as a medicine, and the Oxford study could help change national attitudes on a larger scale. Prof Ahmed Ahmed of Oxford's Nuffield Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology said that this field can have a great impact in creating new therapeutic opportunities for cancer patients.

OCT will partner medical researchers from the university to understand the molecular, cellular and systems mechanisms of cannabinoids with the aim of developing therapies for conditions such as cancer and inflammatory disease.

He told the Daily Telegraph: "This is an important step forward for Britain in a field of research that has for too always been held back by prejudice, fear and ignorance".

The research teams will look into pathways and mechanisms that produce the beneficial effects of cannabis.

There is now only one cannabis-based drug licensed in the United Kingdom, the prescription-only Sativex, an oral spray that lacks the psychoactive components of the plant and is used to treat multiple sclerosis spasticity. It follows calls from MPs in Britain for legalisation of cannabis on medical grounds.

The move comes after Britian's Member of Parliament called for the legalisation of medical marijuana.

At present, cannabis is not permitted in the United Kingdom despite calls for its legislation, however, the cannabis-based ingredient, cannabidiol has recently been classified as a medicine.

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