Singapore, home to strict drug laws, looks to develop synthetic marijuana compounds

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Singapore, known for some of the world’s most stringent drug laws, aims to develop medical treatments containing synthetic elements of the cannabis, or marijuana, plant. The government-run National Research Foundation, a body in charge of national research and development, launched a program earlier this year to unlock the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids — chemical compounds of the cannabis plant. It’s part of the organization’s broader $25 million initiative to promote the biotech industry in the Southeast Asian nation. The program does not focus on the plant’s psychoactive compound — tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC — that’s responsible for marijuana’s psychological effects. Cannabis plants contain more than a hundred other cannabinoids, including cannabidiol, or CBD, which isn’t thought to get people high. “Research into cannabinoids complements and leverages Singapore’s strengths in biomedical research, and is a niche area that Singapore can compete globally in,” a National Research Foundation spokesperson told CNBC. Singapore, home to strict drug laws, looks to develop synthetic marijuana compounds

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