The Lebanese American University is set to launch an independent research center dedicated to studying the health effects and potential economic gains of medical marijuana in Lebanon.
LAU announced plans to establish the Medicinal Cannabis Research Center, which is poised to become the first research project of its kind in the Middle East.
Research will include studies of the potential therapeutic applications of cannabis and Lebanon’s climatic and economic value, the university announced.
“We are awaiting the creation of a legal framework within which we can proceed, with the full support of the Ministry of Public Health,” said Mohammad Mroueh, an LAU pharmacy professor, who is spearheading the project.
In a statement, the university said growing conditions in Lebanon have not been fully studied or characterized, and an assessment of its medical benefits can be an untapped opportunity for the country.
Opportunities can include economic gains, reduced unemployment and a reversal of the brain drain, the university added.
LAU President Joseph Jabbra acknowledged the potential controversy of studying marijuana, however considers this research a chance to “break the social stigma surrounding the issue.”
In other parts of the world, cannabis compounds THC and CBD have been used to treat chronic and neuropathic pain, chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting in cancer patients and other issues.