Research has already provided clear evidence that compounds related to cannabis that occur naturally in the body play a fundamental role in normal body function and could therefore be developed therapeutically. But scientists believe social issues linked to cannabis are
hindering the advance of medical research in the area.
David Kendall, chairman of the one-day British Pharmacological Society symposium, stressed that the call for more research was in no way an endorsement for the legalisation of the drug for recreational use.
"The study of cannabis is now a respectable area of research. Funding agencies should
welcome the opportunity to support research into a new class of drugs that has potentially far-reaching implications," he said. Researcher Michael Randall, from the school of biomedical sciences at the
University of Nottingham, said: "The stigma of cannabis has held back research for too long."