Nov 10, 2012

Manley West and Albert Lockhart, Distinguished Caribbean Scientists

Professor Manley West is an emeritus professor and administrator who runs a pharmacology lab at the University of the West Indies (UWI) campus in Kingston, Jamaica.
He has worked with ophthalmologist Dr. Albert Lockhart on pioneering research that turns raw ganja into specialty medicines for glaucoma and other disorders.
In 2001, Professor Manley West, a former Titchfield student from Portland and head of the Pharmacology Department of the University of the West Indies, and Dr. Alfred Lockhart introduced a cannabis-derived medication called Cantimol to treat the potentially debilitating condition of glaucoma. It was the world's first combination of an alpha agonist and a bet blocker (two types of drugs) in one bottle for the treatment of this disease.
They had previously found another cannabis-derived drug, Canasol in 1987.
West and Lockhart were trained at prestigious academies in England, Scotland and the United States. West has been the head of UWI's pharmacology department, and has nearly 40 years of experience in medicine and health. Lockhart has 36 years experience as a researcher and ophthalmologist. The lauded duo has received two of Jamaica's highest medical honors: the Order of Merit for Medicine and the Musgrave Gold Medal. Why were they honored? Because they created Canasol, a ganja-based medicine that helps decrease intraocular pressure with none of the side effects caused by other treatments.

West explained that he and Lockhart began studying cannabis-glaucoma pharmacology in the early 1970's. Scientists had long known that cannabis lowered intraocular pressure, but instead of utilizing whole smoked cannabis, American researchers spent millions of dollars on a poorly-designed topical THC eyedrop treatment that had caused eye irritation and failed to decrease intraocular pressure.


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