Oxford University will be launching a £10m research program into the effects of medical marijuana, following calls for its legalization.
The program will analyze the function of cannabis medications in treating pain, cancer and inflammatory diseases.
It follows calls from some MPs for legalization of cannabis on medical reasons, with such calls being backed by 58 per cent this past year.
In the last few years, studies have supported the medical value of cannabis for treating ailments for example multiple sclerosis, epilepsy and arthritis, and for coping with nerve pain.
The new program is a partnership between Kingsley Capital Partners and Oxford University, who are investing £10m an attempt to create an international center of excellence in cannabinoid research.
Professor of Gynaecological Oncology at Oxford, Ahmed Ahmed, said studies had began to make exciting biological discoveries, which might lead to new treatments for a host of different ailments.
“This area holds great promise for developing innovative therapeutic opportunities for cancer patients,” he said.
The program has received uncommon support – from actor Sir Patrick Stewart, who uses medical marijuana to treat ortho-arthritis.
He told the Telegraph: “Two years ago, in Los Angeles I was examined by a physician and given a note which gave me legal permission to buy, from a registered outlet, cannabis-based products, which I was advised might help the ortho-arthritis in both my hands.”
Routine usage of an ointment and chewy bar had enabled him to sleep through the night, while spraying his hands during the day had brought back mobility in his hands, he said, allowing him to make fists.
“As an outcome of this experience, I enthusiastically support the Oxford University Cannabis Research Plan,” he said.
The actor said he expected the research would help him and millions of others.
“This is an important step forward for Britain in a field of research that’s for too long been held back by prejudice, fear and ignorance.”
Now neither the Conservative nor Labour Party officially supports legalizing cannabis for medical use. Both Liberal Democrats and the Green Party have called for legalization for medical use for a while.
Sativex – a prescription-only drug used by patients afflicted by Multiple Sclerosis – is the sole licensed cannabis-based product in the Britain and is given to help facilitate muscle spasms. Nonetheless it’s doesn’t cause a high and is non-psychoactive.
NHS rationing bodies have rejected its use saying it was too costly to justify.