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The Cannabis Conversation

Clinical Cannabinoid Research: Overcoming the Challenges of Drug Development

Host Anuj Desai discusses clinical and pre-clinical cannabinoid research with Dr. Mikael Sodergren, Managing Director at Sapphire Medical Clinics.




In our latest episode, we welcome Dr. Mikael Sodergren, Medical Cannabis Research Group Lead at Imperial College London and Managing Director at Sapphire Medical Clinics.

We examine how clinical trials and real-world evidence can be used to prove the efficacy of cannabis-based medicines, as well as the challenges associated with applying traditional licensing and regulatory models to these novel medicines.

The Cannabis Conversation is sponsored by Lumino – a boutique HR and Recruitment Agency specialising in building high performance teams for the European Cannabis Industry. They work in three main verticals: Commercial, Medical and Plant Facing.

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About Mikael Sodergren

Dr Mikael Sodergren MBChB(Hons) DIC PhD FRCS, is a Clinical Senior Lecturer at Imperial College London where he leads the Medical Cannabis Research Group. He is co-founder of Sapphire Medical Clinics, the first medical cannabis clinic approved by the CQC in England, and Chief Medical Officer at Curaleaf International.


  • 0:00 Welcome to The Cannabis Conversation

  • 1:08 Introduction to Dr. Mikael Sodergren and his clinical work as a surgeon within oncology

  • 3:48 Dr. Sodergren’s initial research into the use of CBD in cancer treatment and interest in medical cannabis

  • 5:43 Dr. Sodergren’s current research into pain pathways and the use of cannabis to combat acute and chronic pain

  • 7:57 Imperial College London and its progressive research within cannabis (and psychedelic)

  • 09:35 Have you ever encountered any stigma from peers or colleagues?

  • 11:02 The founding of Sapphire Medical Clinics

  • 13:30 How does the process of clinical research work?

  • 18:12 How are regulators involved in the process?

  • 19:04 Preclinical research and what is involved

  • 20:21 What challenges are involved with cannabis drug development?

  • 26:33 Randomised controlled trials and their use within medical cannabis development

  • 29:59 Clinical trials vs. real world evidence

  • 31:48 How do you feel about the use of cannabis flower as a medicine?

  • 33:33 What factors can help accelerate medical cannabis research?


Sapphire Medical Clinics’ Website:

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More about the Medical Cannabis Research Group at Imperial College London:

About Anuj

I’m Anuj Desai – a lawyer and Head of Commercial Partnerships for Knowde Group – a life sciences CRO and strategic consultancy focused on plant based therapeutics and psychedelics

Please follow The Cannabis Conversation to keep up to date with news and insights from the industry, and get in touch at to discuss how I can help your business move forward in the cannabis sector!



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