Union minister Jitendra Singh on Sunday said Jammu is going to pioneer India’s first cannabis medicine project, stressing that the project undertaken by the CSIR-IIIM will produce export quality medicines meant for different kinds of neuropathies and diabetic pains.
Singh made the remarks after visiting the Cannabis Cultivation Farm of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research-Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine (CSIR-IIIM) at Chatha near here.
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The ‘Cannabis Research Project’ of CSIR-IIIM Jammu is a first-of-its-kind in the country in public-private partnership with a Canadian firm, which has a “great potential to put substance of abuse for the good of mankind especially for patients suffering from neuropathies, cancer and epilepsy”.
Singh visited the farm to get first-hand information about the cultivation practices for cannabis in the protected area of the institute and research work being carried out on this important plant.
“This project of CSIR-IIIM is also important from the perspective of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ (self-reliant India) as after getting all the approvals, it will be able to produce export quality drugs meant for different kinds of neuropathies and diabetic pains,” the science and technology minister told reporters.
He said since Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab are affected by drug abuse, this kind of project would spread awareness that this substance of abuse has various medicinal uses especially for the patients suffering from malignancies and other diseases.
“The signing of the scientific agreement between CSIR-IIIM and IndusScan was historic not only for J&K but for the whole of India as it has the potential to produce those kinds of medicines which have to be exported from foreign countries. This kind of project will give an impetus for huge investment in Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.
During the field visit, the minister took stock of the one acre protected area where CSIR-IIIM is currently doing large scale cultivation of superior accessions of Cannabis. He also visited the glass houses with climate control facilities where research work on improving the varieties for desired cannabinoid content is being performed.
Expressing his satisfaction over the research work conducted on the cannabis project by CSIR-IIIM, Singh emphasized the importance of using the latest technology and the cultivation practices for increasing the produce that would help the farmers.
Singh also stressed the need for developing newer indigenous varieties that would suit the environmental conditions of the country. He highlighted the role of biotechnology in this endeavor and encouraged the researchers to continue pushing the boundaries of scientific development.
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Director, CSIR-IIIM, Zabeer Ahmed informed the minister that at present the CSIR-IIIM has a repository of more than 500 accessions collected from different parts of the country.
“The scientists of the institute are working in different directions to provide the end-to-end technology for cannabis cultivation, drug discovery with emphasis on disease conditions like pain management in cancer and epilepsy,” Ahmed said.
He said under a tripartite agreement of CSIR with Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), CSIR-IIIM has completed the exploratory research on cannabis after license for cultivation of cannabis for scientific purpose was granted by the J&K government.
“For further preclinical regulatory studies related to management of cancer pain and epilepsy, it is very important to carry out Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) for pre-clinical and clinical studies which are mandatory requirements of the discovery of newer therapeutic drugs,” he said.
Ahmed said an application to get license from Excise Department of J&K government for GMP manufacturing and transportation of Cannabis material exclusively for scientific purpose has been submitted long back which is still under process.