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English Pharmaceutical Company to Grow Marijuana


July-August 1998

Following the May decision by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain to establish regulations for clinical trials of cannabis derivatives, an English biotechnology company has obtained a license from the British government to grow marijuana so that it can study the effects of the drug on patients with various disorders (Owen Bowcott, "Cannabis to be Given Clinical Trials," Guardian, June 12, 1998; John Warden, "UK Experts Will Speed Up Work On Cannabis," British Medical Journal, May 1, 1998).

GW Pharmaceuticals plans to test marijuana on as many as 2,000 people. Dr. Geoffrey Guy, chairman of GW Pharmaceuticals, said he plans to begin a clinical trial of the effects of smoking marijuana on multiple sclerosis patients. The Home Office and Department of Health has expressed its willingness to propose an amendment to the Misuse of Drugs Act allowing medical cannabis in England if the results of the research are favorable.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, with a membership of over 40,000 British pharmacists, has established a working party to devise guidelines for medical marijuana research. Professor Tony Moffat, the director of Pharmaceutical Sciences, told NewsBriefs that the Society is focusing on orally ingested cannabinoids rather than smoked marijuana. "What we would like to see is good, quality, clinical trials to see if cannabinoids are clinically useful," said Moffat.

GW Pharmaceuticals - Communications handled by Hill, Murray, Rogerson, Ltd., 12-18 Grosvenor Gardens, London SW1W0DH, ENGLAND, Tel: (011) (44) (171) 730-3999.

Professor Tony Moffat, Director of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, Tel: (00) (44) (171) 735 9141, Fax: (00) (44) (171) 820 3918, E-mail <>.