The first pictures were released today by GW Pharmaceuticals, the company licensed by the Home Office to conduct a unique pharmaceutical research and development programme into the medicinal uses of cannabis.
An initial crop of 5,000 plants is currently growing in a climate-controlled greenhouse at a secure research facility in the South of England. Eventually, as many as 20,000 plants should be under cultivation. The first seeds were sown in July and those plants are now over six feet tall.
Dr Geoffrey Guy, Chairman of GW Pharmaceuticals, said:
"We are very pleased with progress so far. The plants are developing well in a fully-automated environment. The humidity, temperature and daylight control systems are all functioning just as we had hoped. Laboratory analysis is now under way, and we are beginning to obtain valuable data on the chemical composition of the plants from our gas and liquid chromatography equipment."
"Our first area of study in patients will concern the relief of pain for sufferers of MS (multiple sclerosis), and we hope to commence clinical trials in the New Year."
Smoking "not the answer" for medicinal cannabis, says research company
Smoking cannabis should not be the preferred method of delivery for the drug in medical usage, according to GW Pharmaceuticals, the company licensed by the Home Office to conduct a unique pharmaceutical research and development programme into the medicinal uses of cannabis.
Commenting on the findings of The House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee, which reported today, Dr Geoffrey Guy, Chairman of GW Pharmaceuticals, said:
"I am sure smoking is not the answer. Medical treatments must be administered in ways that are not in themselves harmful. GW Pharmaceuticals is dedicated to finding and developing medical applications for cannabis-based medicines. We are convinced that safe, alternative delivery methods other than smoking can be found, and we are working hard to that end."
"We plan to start clinical trials on our standardised pharmaceutical grade materials next spring with some form of inhalation device, which does not involve smoking."