PIXABAY, FOTOBIASOxford University in the U.K. and biotech company Oxford Cannabinoid Technologies are launching a new line of research into marijuana’s potential for treating various ailments, including cancer and chronic pain. In the U.S., some states have legalized medical or recreational use of the drug, but marijuana is currently not legal in the U.K.

“Cannabinoid research has started to produce exciting biological discoveries,” Ahmed Ahmed, a professor of Gynaecological Oncology at Oxford University, said in a press release. “This field holds great promise for developing novel therapeutic opportunities for cancer patients.”

In addition to cancer, the co-called Cannabis Research Plan, which will begin with a roughly $12.4 million investment from the biotech firm, will also study cannabinoids’ effects on pain and inflammatory diseases.

Oxford neuroscientist Zameel Cader told The Independent the endocannabinoid system—the signaling pathways that include receptors that detect the psychoactive components of marijuana—is important for both brain function and immune responses. “We know that’s particularly important for many neurological disorders. It’s really an area of huge untapped potential.”