Intended for healthcare professionals

Feature Investigation

Tobacco cash behind cannabis research in Oxford

BMJ 2020; 368 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m1044 (Published 18 March 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;368:m1044

Linked Feature

Big cannabis in the UK: is industry support for wider patient access motivated by promises of recreational market worth billions?

Linked Feature

Industry’s plan to accelerate prescribing of medical cannabis

  1. Jonathan Gornall, investigative journalist
  1. Suffolk, UK
  1. jgornall{at}mac.com

A research collaboration that includes Oxford University is taking funding from the tobacco industry for research into the medicinal properties of cannabis. Jonathan Gornall continues his investigation into the links between big business and the push to widen cannabis access for patients.

The BMJ has uncovered links between companies, campaign groups and individuals lobbying for wider patient access to cannabis for medical use and a parallel campaign to create a lucrative recreational market for the drug in the UK. The first article focused on the links between commercial organisations that are seeking new markets for recreational cannabis and patient groups and researchers.1 Here, we look at the involvement of the tobacco industry in funding research into medicinal cannabis, and the complex web of connections linked to both medicinal and recreational use of cannabis.

Gavin Sathianathan is typical of the new breed of cannabis entrepreneur. The 41 year old is founder and main shareholder of Alta Flora, a private limited London based company, incorporated in May 2018, specialising in “wellness products from natural sources.”2 He is also a trustee of the United Patients Alliance (UPA), a patient led medical cannabis support group founded in 2014 to “safeguard the patients’ voice in advancing legal access to cannabis therapeutics.”3 The alliance is …

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