Oxford University will begin studying medical marijuana’s ability to treat conditions that cause pain, inflammatory conditions, and cancer.

“Oxford will seek to identify new medical therapies through research into the molecular, cellular and systems mechanisms of cannabinoids,” said their press release. A £10 million investment from Kingsley Capital Partners is being funded through a new company, Oxford Cannabinoid Technologies (OCT).

“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.”

said Neil Mahapatra, Managing Partner of Kingsley Capital Partners.

This is the latest effort by a major university to study the medical potential of marijuana. Studies conducted by the Salk Institute, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Colorado, and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology are promising, but research is often limited due to drug legislation.

Medical marijuana research has been limited in the United States. Its Schedule I status places it in a category reserved for substances with “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” Even when federal approval has been made for cannabis research, the plant material made available by the government has been described as, “completely inadequate.”

But this hasn’t stopped research. Oxford’s new program is the latest effort by a major university to study the medical potential of marijuana. Studies conducted by the Salk Institute, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Colorado, and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology are promising enough to inspire further research.

“Cannabinoid research has started to produce exciting biological discoveries and this research programme is a timely opportunity to increase our understanding of role of cannabinoids in health and disease.”

said Ahmed Ahmed, Professor of Gynaecological Oncology at Oxford.

Support from within the Oxford community of scientists is strong. ‘Endocannabinoid signalling is increasingly recognised as fundamentally important in the development and function of the nervous system.” said Zameel Cader, Associate Professor in Clinical Neurosciences.

An International Cannabinoid Biomedicine Conference hosted by both Oxford and Kingsley is being planned, with the hope that cannabinoid research may be more openly discussed among researchers. Eventually, OCT hopes to fund research into other diseases and conditions.

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