Oxford University is to launch a £10m research programme into the effects of medical marijuana, following calls for its legalisation.
The programme will examine the role of cannabis medicines in treating pain, cancer and inflammatory diseases.
It follows calls from some MPs for legalisation of cannabis on medical grounds, with 58 per cent backing such calls last year.
In recent years, studies have increasingly supported the medical value of cannabis for treating conditions such as multiple sclerosis, epilepsy and arthritis, and for dealing with nerve pain.
The new programme is a partnership between Oxford University and Kingsley Capital Partners, who are investing £10m an effort to creat a global centre of excellence in cannabinoid research.
Ahmed Ahmed, Professor of Gynaecological Oncology at Oxford, said studies had started to produce exciting biological discoveries, which could result in new treatments for a host of different diseases.
“This field holds great promise for developing novel therapeutic opportunities for cancer patients,” he said.