(WMC-TV) - Ole Miss is home to the only legally grown marijuana crop in the nation and a new development there is creating quite a buzz.
Faculty and student researchers say they created a new pain reliever in the form of a patch.
Dr. Mahmoud Elsohly is a faculty member at the School of Pharmacy at Ole Miss. He and his team have been working inside their marijuana research lab for nearly seven years to find alternative uses for THC, which is the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.
"The plant itself has a great potential for good medicine coming out of the Cannabis plant, but certainly not in smoking of the drug," said Dr. Mahmoud Elsohly.
Dr. Elsohly is not a fan of legalizing the drug, but he is a fan of his newest creation -- a pot pain reliever in the form of a patch that is placed over the gum line in patients who have problems taking the drug in pill form.
"In addition to pain, it includes things like reducing the optical pressure, therefore it would be good for glaucoma, would be good for alleviating the nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy, would also be good for appetite stimulation," said Dr. Elsohly.
Formulas were first screened in rabbits, then pigs.
Dr. Elsohly believes the right formula will lead to testing in humans.
"So we're not really introducing anything strange to the body, other than the THC itself. We are just having to make it so that we'll make it possible to be absorbed through the mucus," he said.
More than 77,000 samples were prepared for analysis on this project. Early tests show the patch can work for up to 10 hours.
"Because of the way it is absorbed, it's almost like it's absorbed through the lungs, like the smoke, when you smoke, it goes to the lungs to the whole, entire body before going to the liver. Unlike the oral goes to the liver first and then goes to the rest of the body," said Dr. Elsohly.
The patch grew out of earlier experiments that did not go over so well.
Dr. Elsohly first tried making a pot suppository.
"Jay Leno was, had it on his show, when we first came up with the product and said, 'You know, Dr. Elsohly at Ole Miss has developed a way to, to , administer marijuana by suppository. You know how he came up with this idea?' They said, 'How?' He said, 'Well, he was smoking a joint and then he saw the cops and he went..'"
Ole Miss has not used its outdoor marijuana field since 2007, instead, everything is grown in a lab that is under 24 hour surveillance by the DEA.
Research on the pot patch got its kick start thanks to a national grant.
You can learn more about it by clicking here: http://news.olemiss.edu/um-scientists-develop-innovative-method-deliver-thc-2/
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