The latest Harvard IPI research on cannabis in third world countries

Published Aug 17, 2019 01:00 p.m. ET
iStock / UrosPoteko

Over the years, many people have used plants for medical purposes without having any scientific knowledge of their use. One such plant is the cannabis plant. Marijuana is available in third world countries for a variety of reasons, including both recreational and medical reasons that are unknown to us.

You may be wondering which countries are considered third world. Third world countries refer to countries that are developing but not yet fully developed. These include Caribbean countries and African countries, among others. The IPI Institute at Harvard has embarked on a plan to research the medical use of cannabis in third world countries. This initiative is being carried out to increase medical accessibility.

Purpose of IPI

The International Phytomedicine Institute(IPI) at Harvard Medical School was first established in 2019 at the annual Harvard Global Health Catalyst conference. This institute’s main purpose is to decrease the number of people who do not have access to health care.

As stated before, the IPI will focus on the medical benefits of the cannabis plant. The IPI will conduct its research in partnership with educational institutions and private entities.

Benefit of Research

·         This research will help to provide evidence-based health products and thereby aid in the advancement in health and the economy.

·         Professor NGWA, director of the Global Health Catalyst at Brigham, is leading the research. Professor NGWA believes that this initiative will enhance research in the medical field.

·         The project is funded by the Brigham and Women’s Hospital as well as Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Also, partnership with private entities will provide the necessary financial support. Over 6 million dollars has already been raised, and much more is expected in the future.


·         Though the Global Health Catalyst has focused on cancer research, over the years, researchers have been interested in studying different prospects in medicine for pain management. Certainly, cannabis is one of those prospects, and so there is much cannabis research into the use of cannabis.

Lack of proper health care

Developing countries struggle to provide proper health care to the less fortunate. A study from Lancet in 2017 found that in 2015, millions of people who died from serious illness were from developing nations. Majority of these people had little or no access to health care facilities and medicine. Asana from Global Health as also linked the prevalence of the issue in African countries and South-eastern Asian countries.

NGWA referred to inconclusive scientific information on marijuana use, and this is one of the purposes of the research. The research aims at providing credible scientific information on medical marijuana in different parts of the world. Ngwa believe that cannabis crops grown in different countries is not the same and hence the need for the inclusion of these crops in the research.

The future of this research

The study of cannabis will include an assessment of the compounds found in the plant and the concentration of these compounds. This research could provide information for further research as well as data for prospective pharmaceuticals that could be made from cannabis. This research initiative will prove beneficial to developing countries and their health care systems.

Study shows cannabis is more effective for pain relief than aspirin


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