Oxford University, one of the oldest and prestigious institutes in the United Kingdom for higher education, recently announced that it will be launching a medical cannabis studies program. The programme is going to cost approximately 10 million pounds and is aiming to isolate the positive effects of cannabis in order to create new cannabinoid treatments for conditions such as chronic pain, cancer and inflammatory diseases.

The programme is supported by leading experts in the medical cannabis community as well famous people including Sir Patrick Stewart, who according to the BBC has recently admitted to using cannabis himself to help with his arthritis.

The Scientists at Oxford University are focusing on researching parts of the endocannabinoid system, as well as looking into the cellular, molecular structure and system mechanisms of cannabinoids. The endocannabinoid system is present throughout the whole body and is the origin of the interaction between therapeutic cannabinoids such as CBD and THC.

Although Oxford University were the ones to launch the medical cannabis studies programme; in the United Kingdom, cannabis is still considered as a class B drug, possession and consumption are punishable by law. At the moment, in the UK, there is only one medical cannabis based product available uniquely for patients suffering from multiple sclerosis. However, this product was not picked up by the National Health Service as it was deemed too expensive. Currently, other cannabinoid products are in the testing phase of trials, including potential epilepsy treatments.

By commencing this research programme, experts are hoping to alter the legislation regarding therapeutic cannabis, polls undertaken have suggested that the majority of the UK population would support the legalisation of medical cannabis.