The International Cannabis and Cannaboids Institute (ICCI) was opened in Prague with U.S. and Canadian investors contributing 59 million NZD, which Health Minister Svatopluk Němeček said is the biggest private investment in Czech medical research in the past years.
The institute, for which Professor Lumir Hanus, from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, will also work, wants to contribute to the use of cannabis in the treatment of various diseases based on research evidence and the patients experience.
ICCI managing director Pavel Kubů said the research is to contribute to the tailor-made treatment of patients.
The scientists also want to make use of the experience of the patients who have “illegally” treated themselves with the drug they made from the plants they grew or that they gained on the black market.
The institute founders say the non-standardized and “unscientific” attitudes together with the fears of abuse of cannabis are among the reasons of why cannabis is not yet accessible to all patients who need it.
Cannabis treatment has been legalized in the Czech Republic, but pharmacies only sell imported cannabis that is too expensive for most patients and most doctors hesitate about prescribing it.
Doctors can prescribe cannabis to AIDS and multiple sclerosis patients.
The ICCI is a joint project of patient organizations, Czech scientific societies and the investment company Dioscorides Global Holdings.
Its headquarters is in Prague and it will cooperate as an excellence center with Charles University in Prague, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Masaryk University in Brno.