A new collaborative institute aims to study cannabis as part of its mission to increase access to evidence-based plant medicine in poor and developing nations.
The International Phytomedicines Institute (IPI) at Harvard Medical School, was launched on May 26 during the 2019 Global Health Catalyst summit at Harvard Medical School, an annual conference focused primarily on reducing disparities to access to healthcare. Phytomedicine is a plant-based medicinal practice that utilizes plant materials for preventive and therapeutic purposes
Cannabis is one of the primary plants the IPI will begin studying.
The IPI aims to apply the wealth of science and technology at Harvard and strategically partner it with other educational institutions and private industry to convert potential high-impact medicinal plants “to evidence-based pharmaceutical grade products for global health and economic development.”
Leading the effort is Professor Wil Ngwa, who is director of the Global Health Catalyst at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, both affiliated with Harvard Medical School. Ngwa sees the collaborations as a key to providing focused and detailed research into the medicinal qualities of the cannabis plant.
“You need the critical mass of people coming together, and I think that Harvard provides that platform,” he said.
Seed funding for the initiative was provided by the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and it includes funding support and sponsored research agreements with industry partners.
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