New cannabis research partnership to look at cannabis for medical use

New cannabis research partnership to look at cannabis for medical use
© iStock/Yarygin

A new cannabis research partnership will identify and analyse pharmacological, agricultural and genetic characteristics of 240 cannabis varieties for therapeutic purposes, such as refractory epilepsy.

The State University of Campinas (Unicamp) and Entourage Phytolab have just announced an agreement for the development of research on cannabis varieties for medicinal use.

The research project is called “Genotype Selection of Cannabis sativa L. for the Production of Medicines” and will be carried out over a 28-month period in conjunction with the Pluridisciplinary Center for Biological and Agricultural Chemical Research (CPQBA) of Unicamp, one of Latin America’s top universities in science productivity.

Describing the genetic characteristics of cannabis

The start of the research still depends on the approval of the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) for the controlled cultivation of the plant varieties and only for research purposes. The plants will be grown exclusively within three phytotrons, which control temperature, air humidity, photoperiod and light intensity.

“The aim is to describe the medicinal, productive and genetic characteristics of 240 cannabis varieties, which will be cultivated in controlled growth chambers, called phytotrons,” explains Ílio Montanari Jr., project coordinator and curator of the CPQBA Unicamp medicinal plants collection.

“People tend to think that all cannabis plants are the same, but the truth is there are many different varieties. Research allows us to select the most resistant, productive and appropriate for each treatment, which leads to the development of innovative drugs that are even safer, more effective and more accessible,” says Caio Santos Abreu, CEO of Entourage Phytolab.

Newton Frateschi, executive director of Inova Unicamp, highlights that the second agreement with Entourage demonstrates the success of university-business interaction focussed on health. “It is a clear case that research and development at the university can become a product of great impact on society”.

To safeguard the security of the research samples, the cultivation site will be monitored 24 hours a day by a security system implemented in the CPQBA by Entourage Phytolab, as foreseen in the agreement, which includes a rigid access control with biometric identification, double doors and cameras with remote monitoring.

Entourage is responsible for the costs of the project, which includes the identification and acquisition of the seeds, as well as the refurbishing and acquisition of the equipment, which will take place only after Unicamp obtains the Teaching and Research Establishment Authorization (AEP) for the project from Anvisa.

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