PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Thomas Jefferson University has been awarded a $3-million gift for its pioneering work in the emerging field of medical marijuana.

The gift from Australian philanthropists Barry and Joy Lambert comes as the Wolf Administration begins to implement Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program. Advocates have hailed medicinal cannabis as a wonder drug of nature, able to treat a wide range of maladies, from cancer and autism to MS and Parkinson’s disease. Dr. Charles Pollack, Director of Jefferson’s Institute For Emerging Health Professions, says his researchers will put those claims to the test.

“My suspicion is we’ll find that it actually does work in some of these conditions,” Pollack said. “And I think the odds are pretty good we’ll find that it doesn’t do a whole lot in some other conditions and many will be in between like many drugs we use in patients where some patients respond well and some respond less well.”

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Pollack says the new funding will also allow the institute to provide training to medical, nursing and pharmaceutical professionals so they can eventually provide medicinal cannabis therapy to patients.

“We have great confidence that Dr. Pollack and the outstanding team at Thomas Jefferson University will produce the research needed to deliver the changes that will ultimately improve the lives of millions of people across the world,” said Mr. Lambert.

Jefferson University says the gift highlights its growing global reputation as a resource for evidence-based education and research in medicinal cannabis.

Jefferson is the first major health sciences university in the U.S. to establish such a center.