Scientists at the University of Mississippi receive 11 million dollars to research cannabis and other psychotropic plants

2006-10-16 -- Scientists at the University of Mississippi plan to use a recently awarded grant from the National Institutes of Health of 11 million dollars (about 8.8 million Euros) to develop THC mini- patches and study the effects of cannabis and other plants in a new neuroscience research centre. The specific area of research stems around neuroscience as well as identifying certain components and properties of natural products that affect the central nervous system, pharmacy professor Rae Matsumoto said.

The THC mini-patch is intended to release THC into the body like a nicotine patch, although the mini-patch is applied in the mouth above the gums. "The advantage is by taking the drug orally, very little is absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract," said associate professor of pharmaceutics Michael Repka, "which means we don't have to use as large as a dose and the patient usually won't become nauseated."

Jordan Zjawiony, professor of pharmacognosy, leads the chemistry project. Zjawiony says his group is currently working on identifying "psychoactive components of many different organisms, and that includes psychoactive plants, fungi, marine organisms and microorganisms." One of Zjawiony's studies looks at hallucinogenic plants from all over the world, particularly Salvia Divinorum, which has been used for years by shamans for religious ceremonies.