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'Super Breed' of Medicinal Cannabis Developed by British Drug Firm

marijuana buds

 (Reuters)

A British pharmaceutical company was working Wednesday to develop a new breed of cannabis-based products aimed at treating a range of conditions including diabetes, epilepsy and Crohn's disease.

GW Pharmaceuticals, which launched a cannabis-derived medicine for symptoms of multiple sclerosis last year, has cross-bred different types of the plant to produce a new strain that could treat a wide range of disorders.

The new varieties contain enhanced levels of therapeutic compounds, including an appetite suppressant cannabinoid called THCV, which the company hopes will be used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes, obesity and other metabolic disorders.

Research leader Dr. David Potter said, "We've demonstrated that there are something like 60 cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, and so far we've looked in detail only at 12 to 15. You could say we've only scratched the surface so far."

Human safety trials are already underway on some of the new varieties, and the company hopes that by combining THCV with other cannabinoids they will be able to treat inflammatory diseases and epilepsy.