Biomedical research is teaming up with the University of Oxford to set up a lab to research the effects of medical marijuana on various health conditions. The school’s Cannabis Research Plan will study the use of cannabinoids to treat cancer, inflammatory diseases, neurological disorders, and pain.

Doctor Ahmed Ahmed, professor of gynecological oncology at Oxford recently stated, “Cannabinoid research has started to produce exciting biological discoveries, and this research program is a timely opportunity to increase our understanding of the role of cannabinoids in health and disease. This field holds great promise for developing novel therapeutic opportunities for cancer patients.”

The school will be paired with Oxford Cannabinoid Technologies (OCT), a bio-med startup funded by venture capital firm Kingsley Capital Partners. Neil Mahapatra, a managing partner at Kingsley, explained the strategy behind the company’s initial funding of $12.5 million to the lab. He stated, “Medical cannabis and cannabinoid medicine is already helping patients with some of the most distressing conditions across the world. However, research into the specific pathways and mechanisms that create this benefit is limited and long overdue. Through OCT, we hope our strategic partnership with Oxford will support the development of innovative new therapies to help millions of people around the world. The partnership gives the UK a global leadership role in this fast-growing field.”

Even though the use of medical marijuana is still not legal in the UK, a drug containing cannabinoids THC and CBD, Sativex, is legal to treat multiple sclerosis. The Green Party and Liberal Democrats support the legalization of medical marijuana. Members of the Labor and Conservative parties, and even Sir Patrick Stewart show their support, as well. The actor stated, “Two years ago, in Los Angeles I was examined by a doctor and given a note which gave me legal permission to purchase, from a registered outlet, cannabis-based products, which I was advised might help the osteoarthritis in both my hands.” He continued, “As a result of this experience, I enthusiastically support the Oxford University Cannabis Research Plan.”

Oxford Cannabinoid Technologies currently plans to bring in investors for the next round of funding to the lab, and recruiting volunteers, both patients and healthy subjects, to participate in clinical trials. The group will also be hosting the International Cannabinoid Biomedicine Conference later this year.

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