With initial funding of 500,000 Czech crowns provided by American and Canadian investors, the International Cannabis and Cannabinoid Institute was launched last week in Prague.
The Czech Republic’s Health Minister, Svatopluk Němeček, indicated that the investment is the largest private investment in medical research in the country.
The objective of the Institute is to investigate cannabis treatments for various diseases based on scientific research and patient experiences.
The use of cannabis medicine is legal in the Czech Republic. A significant limitation is that pharmacies can only sell imported cannabis, which is too expensive for most patients. Czech physicians can prescribe cannabis for AIDS and multiple sclerosis patients. However, there is a reluctance by physicians, in prescribing cannabis-based medicine. This is likely due to the lack of science indicating the efficacy of cannabis for specific medical conditions.
The International Cannabis and Cannabinoid Institute is a collaborative effort led by the investment firm, Dioscorides Global Holdings, patient organizations and Czech scientific societies in association with Charles University in Prague, the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and Masaryk University.
With all the stakeholders, it’s unclear that who will direct the overall direction of the Institute. One could assume it will be primarily controlled by Dioscorides Global Holdings as the funding source. It’s likely that this will be clarified as the Institute begins operations.