Science Minister Urges Further Research into Medical Marijuana

Photo: JIS Photographer Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Phillip Paulwell (centre), is presented with a copy of the book - ‘Cannabis, Marijuana, Ganja: the Jamaican Global Connection’- by Authors, Dr. Henry Lowe (left) and Professor Errol Morrison, during a launching ceremony, at the Eden Gardens in Kingston, on December 10.

Story Highlights

  • The Minister noted that Jamaica has not kept pace with scientific research and development of products from the marijuana plant.
  • He was delivering the keynote address at the launch of the book: ‘Cannabis, Marijuana, Ganja: the Jamaican Global Connection’.
  • Government is very serious about science, technology and innovation and recognizes its potential to grow the economy out of the current situation.

Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Phillip Paulwell, is encouraging further serious scientific research into medical marijuana, citing its potential to earn billions.

The Minister noted that Jamaica has not kept pace with scientific research and development of products from the marijuana plant, despite pioneering the first commercial product from ganja in the form of Cannasol, a treatment for glaucoma.

“I am of the firm opinion that scientific research into marijuana, both in the very many uses of the plant as hemp, and its medical properties, is an idea whose time has come,” Mr. Paulwell said.

He was delivering the keynote address at the launch of the book: ‘Cannabis, Marijuana, Ganja: the Jamaican Global Connection’ by Professor Henry Lowe and Professor Errol Morrison, held at the Eden Gardens in Kingston, on December 10.

The Minister pointed out that around the world, countries such as Canada, Israel and the United States have taken the lead in research into medical marijuana and Jamaica would not be left behind.

He further added that hemp, the fibrous variety of the cannabis sativa plant, is enormously versatile and Jamaica could reap significant social and economic benefits, first from the development of a ganja based nutraceutical industry, worth over $US2.5 billion in that country alone.

“Based on the information before us… I have instructed the Scientific Research Council (SRC) to lead efforts to galvanise stakeholders interested in research and development of medical marijuana.  I would like to encourage further serious scientific research and to issue an invitation. If there is any Jamaican out there who is serious about research and development into marijuana, please contact the SRC, who will help you develop your research into commercially viable products,” he urged.

The Minister informed that the Government is very serious about science, technology and innovation and recognizes its potential to grow the economy out of the current situation.

Mr. Paulwell congratulated the authors of the book, calling the publication timely, especially in light of the growing debate about the legal status and use of ganja that is gaining traction in countries around the world. He reviewed the book as a “good fact based introduction to the uses, pharmacology and potential of medical marijuana for Jamaica.”

In his remarks, Professor Morrison labeled the book “the ganja dictionary.” He noted that it encompasses all the myths, knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and practices that have been documented since the mid eighteenth century.

The Professor said that the purpose of the book, which has current information up to October 2013, is to inform about ganja by presenting its history, scientific studies, socio-cultural impact and potential. He further pointed out that no plant in Christendom has been so exhaustively studied as ganja, with over 20,000 scientific publications and rising daily.

Meanwhile, Professor Lowe thanked all those persons associated with the production of the book which he said took two years to revise.   He pointed out that the country is in need of financial support right now and research and development of medical marijuana is one way to go.

Endorsing the book were Chairman of the Medical Council of Jamaica, Dr. the Hon. John Hall; Acting Executive Director of the Scientific Research Council, Dr. Hawthorne Watson; and Dr. Andrew Wheatley,  Opposition Spokesperson on Science and ICT.

Copies of the book were also presented to the University of the West Indies and the University of Technology Libraries during the launch, which saw a wide cross section of persons turning out to support the event.

JIS Social