Leorin Unilorina has won a £100k prize for his research into how cannabinoids might be used to treat a range of medical conditions.
The 27-year-old, who is a professor of psychiatry at Edinburgh University, said he and his colleagues would be sharing the money with a number of people who had been suffering from the effects of cannabis.
“It’s a really exciting prize,” he said.
“There’s an amazing amount of potential.
I’m hoping to be able to support people who need it most, and to see it translate into an impactful research that can change people’s lives.”
Professor Unilornina said the money was not a major source of funding for his work.
“I would have loved to have been able to go and win it myself, but it was a really good opportunity for me,” he explained.
“The biggest thing that I have learnt is that if you want to help people, there’s a lot more to it than just money.”
My research has shown there’s so much more to this than just cannabis, and I think the public needs to know that.
“Professor Dr David Rees from the Royal College of Psychiatrists said it was an opportunity to show how cannabis could be used therapeutically to treat medical conditions including epilepsy and multiple sclerosis.”
We’re not suggesting that we should be smoking, but that the way we treat it is important,” he told the BBC.”
If there’s no treatment for epilepsy, it doesn’t work, it’s just not effective.
“So there’s other things you can do that might help people who have it.”
Professor Rees said research could help patients in a variety of ways, but some research was being done on potential new treatments.
“You can look at other treatments that have a different outcome,” he added.
“For example, you could look at cannabinoids that have been shown to be less toxic to animals.”
And you could also look at using cannabinoids to treat other conditions like glaucoma or multiple sclerosis.