As part of the research, the institute is working in developing cannabis varieties yield greater amounts of CBD – the non-psychoactive component of cannabis, Dr. D. Srinivasa Reddy, director at the Council of scientific and industrial research - Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine Jammu (CSIR-IIIM Jammu) said.
The goal in a year’s time is to conduct one human clinical trial on medical cannabis and its effects on pain relief. However, this is contingent on regulatory approval, said Dr Reddy who took over from CSIR-IIIM’s former director Dr. Ram Vishwakarma slightly more than two years ago.
“CSIR-IIIM Jammu is currently working with the concerned stakeholders drafting cannabis policy to harness the nation's potential, particularly towards the medical benefits of this cannabis research.
“In particular, we are working on cancer pain relief, that is an immediate need. We are working with Tata Memorial Hospital in Mumbai. We are also working on other areas, but they are still in the early stages.
“We are also engaged in working in like a platform for functional genomics for cannabis sativa as a component for the project. So, we have one project called the genome editing crop improvement, the G E crop, so that also we're trying to work on work around this cannabis species,” said Dr. Reddy.
With over 20 years of research experience in the area of natural products, medicinal chemistry, and drug discovery, Dr. Reddy concurrently holds directorship in two other national agencies, namely CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, Hyderabad and CSIR-Central Drug Research Institute, Lucknow.
No pain no gain
The young Dr. Reddy grew up in Telegana. His father worked as a farmer while mother is a housewife.
Interestingly, he used to distribute newspapers part-time while he was still studying and in timber depot during vacation.
“Since you asked about my ambition, one supervisor used to be there (timber depot). He used to be a tough guy and at that time, my ambition that time was to become a supervisor who makes a few thousands, but I was making a few hundreds at that time. Again, when you move into a different stage of life, goals will change…”
Asked his advice for young colleagues and scientists who have just started in this field, he said: “My motto in general always has been no pain, no gain in life…Rewards are the by-products of your sincere hard work and smart work.
“As a director and fellow scientist working in national laboratories, I always tell that our work must translate to the welfare of people, because most of us are funded by government and particularly, taxpayers’ money.
“Work for the society, I always tell that, and no compromise on your ethics, particularly in terms of research,” he said.
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