OXFORD, Miss. (WJTV) – The University of Mississippi is home to a new center that will prioritize resources toward patient and public safety on the medicinal use of cannabis.

The National Center for Cannabis Research and Education (NCCRE) will foster and conduct scientific research, data analysis, education and training on the health effects of cannabis. NCCRE researchers and leaders will aid in policymaking and outreach as state programs emerge.

“There is no doubt that cannabis can provide treatments for serious diseases, and there is a solid research foundation for further exploration” said Larry Walker, interim director of the NCCRE, who served 16 years as director of the National Center for Natural Products Research. “The potency of the plant, the sophistication of preparation and delivery, the ready availability of these products and the declining perceptions of risks mean that many seeking its health benefits could experience various adverse effects.

“The goal of the NCCRE is that health professionals and patients have the products and information that will allow them to tap the hope for new treatments from cannabis, while understanding and minimizing harmful effects.” 

The center was approved Thursday, January 20 by the board of trustees of the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL).

“The creation of this outstanding center draws and builds upon the University of Mississippi’s internationally renowned research expertise in cannabis,” said Glenn Boyce, UM chancellor. “With our decades-long scientific leadership in this field, we’re equipped to be a leading resource in this area, and we’re ready to play an invaluable role in ensuring the future of cannabis is safe, productive and effective.”

The center’s initiatives emphasize research, advising and education in medical cannabis as well as cannabis-related drug development. Along with working toward the creation of new drugs and formulations, the NCCRE will perform data collection and analysis while engaging in training and education with medical professionals, industry and government officials.