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Here's how a $33.7 million donation will change the face of cannabis research in Australia

David Ramos/Getty Images

Australia is leading a new front on medicinal cannabis research thanks to a $33.7 million donation to the University of Sydney from one family.

Barry and Joy Lambert donated a portion of their $320 million fortune after their granddaughter Katelyn — who suffered from uncontrolled seizures — benefitted from the use of cannabis-based medicine.

“Can your imagine your child not being able to go to pre-school?” Joy said. “I just never thought she would get there.”

As the largest research donation in the university’s history, the Lambert Initiative will focus on human testing and clinical trials to test the cannabis plant in treating a range of diseases.

“The experience of our granddaughter, who suffers debilitating epilepsy, has opened our eyes to the extraordinary possibility of cannabinoids treating not only her condition but a range of chronic illnesses that often don’t respond to conventional treatments,” said Barry Lambert.

Earlier last year, the NSW government announced it would hold clinical trials of medical cannabis after Premier Mike Baird was moved by the plight of 24-year-old Daniel Haslam who had used cannabis to alleviate his colo-rectal cancer.

The initiative will be led by Professor Iain McGregor, Associate Professor Nicholas Lintzeris and Dr David Allsop who are already helping the NSW government’s sponsored clinical trials of medicinal cannabis.

“We have all devoted our careers to cannabis science, one of the fastest moving frontiers in pharmacology. We now know there are more than 100 different compounds we call cannabinoids, many of which have incredible therapeutic properties that we are only beginning to understand,” said Professor McGregor.

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