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UWI signs MOU for Medical Marijuana Research

The University of the West Indies, (UWI) Mona today, Wednesday, April 9, 2014,  signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with GenCanna Global, Inc.,  trading as Strains of Hope, to facilitate the conduct of research into the medicinal properties of marijuana (cannabis sativa).
The agreement will be effective for a period of three years, and was signed by Pro Vice Chancellor and Principal of The UWI, Mona Campus, Professor Archibald McDonald, and Strains of Hope’s founder/director Mr. Josh Stanley at a ceremony held in the Council Room at The UWI, Mona Campus.
Under the terms of the MOU, researchers at The UWI, Mona will collaborate with researchers at Strains of Hope on fundamental, academic research related to the development of the medical cannabis industry. The aim is to identify the biological and chemical properties of Medical cannabis (or medical marijuana), with a view to determining how the plant works to treat disease or alleviate the symptoms of disease.
The parties have also agreed to provide support with the drafting of legislation related to the decriminalization of marijuana for medical purposes, to the utilization of UWI’s capabilities in analytical botanical chemistry and biological areas and UWI’s greenhouse/atrium for small scale, controlled research growth, focusing on all aspects of strain, including growing conditions and DNA sequencing.
Strains of Hope was founded by Mr. Josh Stanley, one of the largest marijuana growers and dispensary owners in Colorado, in the United States of America. He and his brothers have been crossbreeding a strain of marijuana high in the compound cannabidiol (CBD) and low in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). He noted that Cannabis is being used by some individuals to treat a wide range of illnesses including epilepsy, paediatric cancer and the reduction of nausea and vomiting in chemotherapy. However, insufficient data exists for any conclusions to be drawn about its safety and efficacy.  He noted that the collaboration with The UWI, Mona would assist in providing that information.
Principal McDonald welcomed Strains of Hope’s involvement noting that successful pursuit of the objectives would have a tremendous impact on Jamaica’s economy.
The signing was witnessed by Chairman of The UWI Cannabis Research Institute, Professor Rupert Lewis, and Mr. Steve Bevan, Founder/Director of Strains of Hope. Also present at the ceremony were Director of the Open Society Global Drug Policy Programme, Ms. Kasia Malinowska-Sempruch, Mayor of Kingston, Councillor Angela Brown-Burke, Dean of the Faculty of Medical Sciences, Professor Horace, Fletcher, Director of the Mona Office of Research for Innovation (MORI), Dr. Georgiana Gordon-Strachan, Dr. Maxine Gossell-Williams, Department of Basic Medical Sciences and Dr. Rupika Delgoda, UWI Natural Products Institute.
Photo:  Strains of Hope’s founder/director Mr. Josh Stanley and Mona Campus, Professor Archibald McDonald, after the signing.

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