By Emily Ledger
Cannabis company, Sativa Group PLC, has been granted a license by the UK Home Office, permitting the growing of high-THC Cannabis for medical research. The company has held a license for the cultivation of low-THC Cannabis since February 2018.
The new license will allow the company to grow Cannabis plants which exceed the technically legal limit of 0.2% THC. Sativa Group will also be permitted to extract, process and supply the plants from their headquarters in Somerset, in accordance with the license.
Sativa Group PLC has revealed that following the granting of the license, it plans to partner with King’s College London to carry out Cannabis medical research. The partners have plans to research the effects of Cannabis and cannabinoids in the treatment of inflammation and respiratory conditions.
For use in the partnership’s research, Cannabis plants will be grown and processed by Sativa at their facilities. Cannabinoids will then be extracted from the dried plants and set to King’s College London for use in their labs.
Chief Executive of Sativa Groups PLC, Henry Lees-Buckley, said:
“We are delighted to receive this licence, responding to calls from regulators, government and healthcare providers for further research and development into the efficacy of medicinal cannabis”.
Cannabis remains an illegal substance under UK law, despite the rescheduling of the plant to allow for medical uses. In November 2018, the Home Office announced that Cannabis would be moved from Schedule I to Schedule II of the Misuse of Drugs Act 2001.
This was a historic move, allowing for medical Cannabis to be legally subscribed to patients who meet certain criteria. However, few patients have benefitted from this change in the law, due to a lack of UK-based medical research and trials demonstrating the plant’s efficacy as a treatment.
The cultivation of any Cannabis plant is strictly regulated in the UK, with farmers obliged to seek permission from the Home Office in order to grow Industrial Hemp. ‘Industrial Hemp’ refers to strains of the Cannabis plant with no more than 0.2% THC – the most common cannabinoid in the plant, known to get users ‘high’.