Thomas Jefferson University Lands $3M for Marijuana Research

When wealthy Americans show a lack support for medical marijuana, just leave it to the Aussie’s to step in and save the day. Today, Philadelphia’s Thomas Jefferson University is celebrating their latest impressive donation — $3 million from an Australian banking magnate to expand their Center for Medical Cannabis Education and Research.

This hefty chunk of change comes from Australian philanthropist Barry Lambert, who has experienced the “miraculous” effect of cannabis first-hand by watching his granddaughter achieve previously impossible relief from her seizures by using cannabis oil.

Barry Lambert and his granddaughter, Katelyn

Barry Lambert and his granddaughter, Katelyn

Lambert’s five-year-old granddaughter Katelyn was diagnosed as an infant with Dravett’s Syndrome, a ruthless form of epilepsy that induces merciless and repetitive seizures. Her first few years of life were spent in and out of hospitals where she was heavily dosed with traditional epilepsy drugs.

Finally, at a frustrated breaking point with the lack of improvement in Katelyn’s condition, Katelyn’s father Michael Lambert risked his freedom to obtain cannabis oil from Denmark. The hemp-derived oil had a more drastic effect than the Lamberts could have ever imagined.“It’s been miraculous,” Barry Lambert explained to

“It’s been miraculous,” Barry Lambert explained to philly.com. “Now she’s speaking to some extent and runs around and laughs and enjoys life like any normal 5-year-old.”

Barry Lambert, founder of Count Financial, Australia’s largest network of accounting and financial advisors, said he personally has never ingested cannabis. Lambert was more or less indifferent towards marijuana until he saw the drastic effect it had on his granddaughter’s vicious seizures.

Now Lambert is somewhat of a pioneer in medical marijuana research, providing much-needed funding to universities in Australia and the United States. In 2015, Lambert donated a whopping $26 million to the University of Sydney to establish a cannabis research center now called the Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics. This research facility provides a unique opportunity for two prominent health science universities to collaborate across the globe on progressing medical marijuana research.

Thomas Jefferson University’s Center for Medical Cannabis Education and Research will now be renamed to The Lambert Center for the Study of Medicinal Cannabis and Hemp in honor of the altruistic Aussie. The Lambert Center will focus on studying marijuana’s primary components, THC and CBD, and their interaction with a variety of disorders such as epilepsy, PTSD and chronic neuropathic pain.

Lambert chose Thomas Jefferson University because of their exceptional health sciences department, their professionalism, innovation, and solid scientific approach. Barry and his wife visited the University in October and were thrilled with the work being done.

“Joy and I were extremely impressed with Jefferson’s rapid progress in the field of medicinal cannabis research,” Lambert said. He continued to boast about their “innovative approach to exploring all avenues for new therapies to include using hemp-derived cannabinoids.”

Charles V. Pollack Jr., director of the Jefferson Institute for Emerging Health Professions, explained in an interview on Wednesday that this generous donation is “a huge boost of momentum to pursue the most promising ideas and potential therapies for a range of conditions.” While Thomas Jefferson University researchers have confirmed medical marijuana can help treat a variety of conditions, Pollack says that Lambert’s donation will help further research to developing actual care strategies.

Hopefully this historic move by Lambert is the push other deep-pocketed philanthropists to join in this historic medical marijuana movement.

Photo courtesy of Allie Beckett.

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