With newly relaxed regulations on researching uses for marijuana in place following the passage of the Cannabis Act, companies in both the medical and recreational sides of the industry have begun funding a variety of new research avenues.

Vancouver-based Pascal Biosciences Inc. (TSX.V: PAS) — formerly known as bioMmune Technologies — joins the ranks of those companies with a new human subject trial underway.

The experiment will test how cannabinoids cultivated directly from cannabis, synthesized artificially in a lab, or found naturally in the human body can potentially affect the human immune system.

Pascal announced the end goal of the testing is to develop cannabinoid treatments to enhance the potency of existing cancer drugs. If successful, the treatments aim to stimulate the human immune system so it can better fight tumours.

The study is now underway, and includes both healthy volunteers with no cancerous cells and those who have already been diagnosed with cancer.

Pascal’s Chief Executive Officer Dr. Patrick Gray commented on the new research:

We will extend these studies during the coming year with a potent cannabinoid for determination of its immune stimulatory activity. We will be testing cancer patients undergoing treatment with checkpoint inhibitors. We believe this work will be of great interest to patients, oncologists, and companies focused on cannabinoid therapeutics.

An international patent has already been filed to protect the company’s findings for potential therapeutic treatments derived from the study.

While based in Canada, Pascal also recently obtained a Schedule I research license from the Drug Enforcement Administration to study the effects of cannabis in the U.S. That level of licensing is required for clinical trials in the United States due to marijuana remaining illegal at the federal level.

Apart from Pascal’s recently-launched human volunteer study, several other companies have announced major human trials or initiated other research into medical uses for cannabis.

Late last year, Veritas Pharma Inc. (CSE: VRT) began human trials in Puerto Rico for cannabis-based pain management, while last month Canntab Therapeutics (CSE: PILL) announced a trial for using marijuana to reduce opioid usage after surgery.

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