Cannabis is the answer to what ails you, at least a great deal of the time. While it’s become a mainstay of medicine in recent years, it’s been used forever to help a variety of illnesses. Yet, even with all of this, the research behind marijuana as an answer is sorely lacking; simply, there’s not enough of it. This is something Oxford hopes to remedy.
According to CNBC, Oxford University is partnering with a private equity company (Kingsley Capital Partners) to investigate cannabis further. The initial investment is believed to be around 10 million pounds, or 12.36 million in US dollars.
The union works – it merges the financial needs of researching cannabis with the clinical needs a college provides.
Oxford plans to look into how marijuana influences the immune system, neurobiology, and cancer in hopes of discovering new treatments
Ultimately, the merger will be used to increase the understanding in how cannabinoids effect the human body and, more aptly, what they can do for our health.
Oxford is an old and historic university lauded for its academics. While there’s no established date of its founding, historians believe it goes back well beyond the olden days to 1096.
It’s home to the Rhodes Scholarship (one of the most prestigious scholarships students can obtain), the world’s oldest university museum, the largest university press, and the largest academic library system in Britain.
In short, Oxford has street cred and lots of it.
The State of Cannabis in the United Kingdom
Cannabis isn’t presently legal in England or anywhere else in the United Kingdom; while other countries have progressed, the UK has refused to welcome THC. But the tinniest of cracks are starting to appear in that foundation.
For one thing, citizens have softened on their marijuana stance. Per a poll conducted for The Independent, 47 percent of people back the idea of legalizing cannabis while 39 percent oppose it and 14 percent remain unsure.
Men, those in higher social classes, and those living in Scotland and London are more likely to back legalization than others
Not only this, but medicinal marijuana has made its way into the UK. In 2016, politicians called for legalizing of pot for health purposes and the cannabis-based ingredient cannabidiol (or CBD) was classified as medicine.
There is also another cannabis-based medicine that contains both THC and CBD: Sativex. It’s licensed for use in the UK by people suffering from multiple sclerosis, but its expense has harnessed its availability. In reality, patients in Wales are often the only ones who can easily procure it.
From a financial perspective, legalizing weed is a given; we’ve seen it in states like Colorado – cannabis is the economy’s BFF. And this would be the case in the UK too. As reported in The Independent, it’s believed that the country could net up to one billion pounds a year if they went the legal route, both on the taxing of sales and on savings in the criminal justice system.
Like in America, legalizing frees police and prosecutors from going after people caught with joints and reserving punishment for truly bad people (and no, Jeff Sessions, cannabis doesn’t make you a bad person). Also, like in America, the war on drugs in the UK has been a colossal failure: it’s attempted to reduce demand, decrease supply, and begin recovery. It’s accomplished none of that.
Other countries are already ahead of the UK, including the red, white, and blue. People are progressing – despite threats from the current administration, the ideas surrounding cannabis have changed dramatically and what was once taboo is now more along the lines of, “I’ll take two.”
Still, those in charge across the pond don’t appear to have plans to legalize any day soon. A shame for its citizens; even Big Ben knows it’s time.
However, the Oxford research is a good sign – you never know what will finally be the straw that breaks the camel’s back (or, in this case, makes the camel turn to medical cannabis for help with the pain caused by his broken back).
Why Oxford Research is So Important
When it comes to what cannabis can do, we’ve barely reached the tip of the ice berg – were at the tip of the tip. The potential for marijuana to help humans is untapped; we’ve really only just begun. But we can’t convince those in charge of marijuana’s worth without the science to back our claims.
In America, this is very much a double-edged sword: politicians won’t declassify marijuana from a Schedule 1 drug because there’s not enough research that proves its medicinal value, but its Schedule 1 classification makes research too risky, too expensive, and, for some, too controversial.
A lot of the research that has been conducted on marijuana has been done to prove its evilness rather than its benefit.
Per USA Today, between 2008 and 2014, the National Institutes of Health spent 1.1 billion out of 1.4 billion to study drug abuse and addiction. Only 297 million went to studying marijuana’s benefits.
Then there’s the issue of the research-grade marijuana available to scientists. All federal marijuana is grown in one place: the University of Mississippi. It’s overseen by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and its potency has often been called into question.
According to the Cannabist, the “research-grade” marijuana maxes out on THC at around 13 percent, a low to moderate level of what’s available recreationally (and some put that number closer to 8 percent). Without using pot that’s high in cannabinoids, the benefits of those cannabinoids aren’t as easily demonstrated. It’s like trying to research the benefits of alcohol and only use 3.2 beer.
Whether this is by design or not is a valid concern: The National Institute on Drug Abuse has vested interest to keep pot bad. Thus, any studies that prove otherwise aren’t exactly up their alley.
This is why the Oxford research is so important; they’ll have their own politicians to deal with, but at least they won’t have ours.