CSIR-IIIM and IndusCann signed agreement on Cannabis research

CSIR-IIIM and InsdusScan, a Canada based company signed a major scientific agreement on Cannabis Research in a programme held in IIIM Auditorium in presence of the Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh who was the Chief Guest at this function. R.R. Bhatnagar, Advisor to LG (J&K) and Dr. Shekhar C. Mande, DG CSIR & Secretary to Govt., DSIR were the guests of honour. Dr. Sanjay Kumar, Director, CSIR-IHBT, Palampur was special guest on the occasion.

Dr. Jitendra Singh while speaking on the occasion termed the signing of this scientific agreement between CSIR-IIIM and IndusScan a historic event in the for J&K and whole of India too as India is considered as the native place of this plant because in the Indus valley civilization, Cannabis was regarded as one of five sacred plants. Initially it was misused for psychoactivity and hence the plant was included in the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 list. In his lecture, Dr. Jitendra recalled the contribution of Sri Col. R.N.Chopra, son of soil and founder Director of IIIM Jammu who from 1940-1960 carried out extensive work on cannabis. He further appreciated the effort of IIIM Jammu which got the legal license for cultivation and medical research on this plant and product development. CSIR-IIIM is now globally recognized for its Cannabis work and several Industries and multinational companies are interested in collaboration with CSIR-IIIM. Dr. Jitendra Singh also expressed his satisfaction as this agreement will give an impetus for huge investment in Jammu and Kashmir.
R R Bhatnagar, Advisor to LG (J&K) appreciated the R&D activities of CSIR-IIIM, Jammu. Dr. Shekhar C. Mande, DG CSIR & Secretary to Govt., DSIR said that Cannabis has been associated with Indian culture and medicine since centuries; however, due to its misuse as psycho-active substance, it was banned worldwide 1980s onwards and put under narcotic list. By current scientific collaboration between CSIR-IIIM, Jammu and IndusScan on Cannabis research will totally transform the uses and application of Cannabis.

Dr. Ram Vishwakarma, earlier in his welcome address said that recent scientific discoveries have confirmed that most of the psychoactive properties come from ?9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Recently another major compound was discovered named cannabidiol (CBD) which is totally devoid of psycho-active properties and possesses remarkable therapeutic activities. In last decade, four drugs namely Sativex (nabiximols), Marinol (Dronabinol), Nabilone (Cesamet), Epideloxhave been approved by US FDA/EU regulatory and many others in different clinical trials namely Ajulemic acid (Resunab, Phase-II), Dexanabinol (HU-211 or ETS2101, Phase-I). With all these research in last ten years, it is clear that CBD from cannabis is a miracle drug for several therapeutic indications (pain management including rheumatic, reduce nausea and vomiting, suppress seizure activity, combat anxiety, depression, psychosis disorders, anti-inflammatory properties, anti-tumoral properties and antioxidant properties that could fight neurodegenerative disorders). Since cannabis grows all over India as weed, there is an emergent great opportunity to explore this valuable plant for the production of CBD and development of drugs for biomedical applications.

Among many others, Dr. Sanjay Kumar, Director, CSIR-IHBT, Dr. D. M. Mondhe, Er. Abdul Rahim, Dr. Gurdarshan Singh, Dr. Zabeer Ahmed (Sr. Principal Scientists), Dr. Asha Chaubey, Dr. Dhiraj Vyas , Dr. Debaraj Mukherjee, Dr. Amit Nargotra, Dr. Sumit Gandhi, Dr. Shashank K Singh (Principal Scientists), Pankaj Bahadur, Controller of Administration, Dr. Amit Sharma, IIIM Medical officer,Praphul Kumar, Store and Purchase Officer and Anil Gupta Finance & Accounts Section Officer were also present. Dr. Deepika Singh conducted the proceedings whileas Er. Rajneesh Anand, Chief Scientist presented the vote of thanks.