In a positive development, Jammu is all set to spearhead India's maiden cannabis medicine project, a venture aimed at reducing the country's import dependency for crucial medicinal drugs.
The project, initiated in partnership with a Canadian firm, seeks to explore the potential of cannabis in treating conditions such as neuropathies, cancer, and epilepsy, bringing hope to patients in need.
The 'Cannabis Research Project', being implemented by Jammu-based CSIR-IIIM (Council of Scientific and Industrial Research - Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine) under a Private Public Partnership with Canadian firm IndusScan, is expected to unlock the medicinal benefits of cannabis, which has long been recognised for its therapeutic properties.
Union Minister of State for Science and Technology Jitendra Singh recently visited the CSIR-IIIM's cannabis cultivation farm at Chatha near Jammu to get the first-hand information about the cultivation practices for cannabis in the protected area of the institute and research work being carried out on this important plant.
During his visit, Union Minister of State for Science and Technology Jitendra Singh said that Jammu is going to pioneer India's first cannabis medicine project.
He added that the project of CSIR-IIIM is also important from the perspective of 'Atmanirbhar Bharat' as after getting all the approvals, it will be able to produce export quality drugs meant for different kinds of neuropathies, diabetic pains etc.
According to a Science and Technology Ministry statement, Singh said that since J&K and Punjab are affected by drug abuse, this kind of project will spread awareness that this substance of abuse has diverse medicinal uses especially for the patients suffering from malignancies and other diseases.
He added that the signing of scientific agreement between CSIR-IIIM and IndusScan was historic not only for J&K but for whole of India as it has the potential to produce those kinds of medicines which have to be exported from foreign countries.
Singh said that Cannabis is a wonder plant from which FDA has approved the drugs such as Marilnol/nabilone and Cesamet for treatment of nausea and vomiting, Sativex for neuropathic pain and spasticity, Epidiolex, Cannabidiol for epilepsy and being used elsewhere in countries.
In J&K, the license was granted to CSIR-IIIM, Jammu for research and protected cultivation and upon permission of GMP manufacturing, the rest of pre-clinical and clinical studies would be completed.
The research work at CSIR-IIIM focuses on cultivating superior cannabis accessions and improving cannabis varieties for desired cannabinoid content.
Zabeer Ahmed, Director, CSIR-IIIM, apprised the minister that at present CSIR-IIIM has a repository of more than 500 accessions collected from different parts of the country.
The scientists of the institute are working in different directions to provide the end-to-end technology for Cannabis cultivation, drug discovery with emphasis on disease conditions like pain management in cancer and epilepsy.
He further informed the minister that under a tripartite agreement of CSIR with Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), CSIR-IIIM has completed the exploratory research on cannabis after license for cultivation of cannabis for scientific purpose was granted by J&K Govt.
For further pre-clinical regulatory studies related to management of Cancer Pain and epilepsy, it is very important to carry out GMP manufacturing for pre-clinical and clinical studies which are mandatory requirements of the discovery of newer therapeutic drugs.
An application to get license from Excise Department of J&K govt For GMP manufacturing and transportation of cannabis material exclusively for scientific purpose has been submitted long back which is still under process, he informed.
According to the ministry statement, CSIR-IIIM is the pioneer in the Cannabis research and obtained the first license for cultivation in the country.
Following this, many other states like Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Manipur, Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh have started making the policy and rules for use of cannabis for scientific purpose.
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