UK gets first publicly available dedicated cannabis research facility

EXCLUSIVE: It is aiming for 'world firsts' in the study of the plant's medicinal benefits

Christopher Hooton
Wednesday 14 June 2017 15:03 BST

Cannabinoid biotechnology company MediPen is launching its own dedicated 1,800ft sq marijuana research facility this summer, which will also provide a platform for anyone looking to utilise its facilities for the purposes of driving innovation around the use of medicinal cannabis.

The company, which has had big success selling non-psychoactive CBD vaporisers that users claim to have a long list of medicinal benefits, is currently in the process of securing a license from the Home Office to import and work with controlled compounds found in cannabis so it can study the plant in greater detail.

These include Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which will be studied in the laboratory with regard to cancer patients and with the aim of minimising the negative impact of existing chemotherapy-based treatments such as nausea and vomiting through its antiemetic properties, along with attempting to suppress metastasis through inhibiting the proliferation of cancer cells.

Last summer, MediPen devices were tested by an NHS unit, an unprecedented step that helped increased scrutiny on cannabis’ medical benefits.

"As it stands there is a significant amount of scientific data available detailing the powerful effects of cannabinoids within cell culture systems and in vivo," a representative told The Independent. "However, we plan to be amongst the first in the world to begin clinical trials on humans."

GW Pharmaceuticals is also developing cannabinoid-based medicine from its own facility, but MediPen's will be a little different in its public availability, allowing use of its facilities to founders of other cannabis-based innovations who are encouraged to take advantage of their established R&D network, state of the art in-house testing as well as on board business and legal advice.

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