Plandai Biotechnology Cannabis Research Gets Green Light From Uruguay
Plandaí Biotechnology (OTCQB: PLPL) just became one of very few companies to receive a government sanction to grow cannabis for medical research. It was announced last week that Uruguay’s Minister of Public Health has given Plandaí the go-ahead to collaborate with the Group of Medicinal Chemistry from the School of Science at the University of the Republic in Montevideo.
This collaboration that will allow Plandaí, through its wholly owned subsidiary Plandaí Biotechnology – Uruguay, SA, to grow cannabis in conjunction with the University of the Republic, for medical research, which will be conducted by students and scientists from the School of Science at the University.
While some U.S. states have given licenses to conduct cannabis research, under federal law growing marijuana, for any purposes, is still illegal. This, of course, has limited research into the possible medical benefits of cannabis which lends even more significance to Plandaí’s collaboration in Uruguay. The approval was issued this past September, and it is scheduled to take place over a 3-year period beginning in early 2015.
With the federal government in Uruguay giving Plandaí the green light, the company can now legally grow cannabis, and not just CBD dominant strains either, and then begin clinical testing using the drug. The first phase of the project will establish the infrastructure and protocols for growing the cannabis in a controlled environment to ensure genetic purity and chemical consistency.
When asked about controlling the environment in which the cannabis will be grown, Plandaí Biotechnology CEO Roger Duffield said, “Because the plant itself is so sensitive to environmental inputs, we will be constructing an indoor controlled growth facility where we can manage temperature, air pressure, light, nutrition, and genetics to ensure that we have consistency in our chemical profile, which is critical for future clinical trials.”
The CEO says he expects it will take approximately 12 months for the facility to be installed and the first extract prepared for testing. Under this collaboration, Plandaí will for the first time be able to test marijuana for medicinal properties, and it also affords the company the chance to provide a pure chemical extract for third party testing. Duffield said the research will enable clinicians to set dosage parameters as well since, with clinical testing, Plandaí will have benchmarks for absorption and metabolization similar to that established with its green tea extract.
The CEO added, “There is currently so much variation in potency and chemical composition—even within the same strain of plant—that it is nearly impossible to determine what level of dosage is needed for clinical result. Our scientific approach should pave the way for greater understanding of the medicinal benefits of the plant.”
After the first phase, a team of academics at the University of the Republic will then collaborate with Plandaí’s scientists to test the cannabinoid complex for potential benefit for treating neuron disorders, cancers and concussion injuries through animal testing. However, before the Company can conduct human clinical trials, further approval from Uruguay’s Ethics Committee and Medicine Council will be required.
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