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The Times: an interview with Neil Mahapatra

Rhys Blakely meets Neil Mahapatra to talk all things legal cannabis

[Neil] talks me through the business plan. Oxford Cannabinoid Technologies “OCT”, he explains, was set up to unravel the secrets of a plant that has been stigmatised for decades. Working with dozens of scientists at several universities it plans to isolate the active molecules in various strains of cannabis. These “cannabinoids” will be recombined to produce standardised blends, which will be subjected to rigorous research.

It is exploring four main areas: can cannabis compounds be used to treat pain, inflammation, neurological disorders and cancer? “We do absolutely want to find out if there are combinations of cannabinoids that could cure cancer,” Mahapatra tells me.

Not a single person has come up to me and said that, reputationally, this is not the wisest move. I have not had that discussion yet. Everybody appreciates the size of the opportunity.

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