CIHR and partners invest $24.5M to study cannabis

Mark Lowey
May 29, 2019

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and partners are investing $24.5 million in cannabis research, including 26 projects across the country.

The funding, provided under CIHR’s Integrated Cannabis Research Strategy, will support research teams that will explore the therapeutic potential of cannabis and cannabidiol oil in areas such as cancer and chronic pain, and the impact on neurodevelopment from cannabis exposure during pregnancy.

Funded projects include those at the University of Calgary, Dalhousie University, and Mount Sinai Hospital’s Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute.

The CIHR Integrated Cannabis Research Strategy takes a coordinated approach to funding research that will inform cannabis-related policies, programs and services, said Dr. Samuel Weiss, scientific director of the CIHR Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction.

“We aim to position Canada as a world leader in developing the capacity to carry out cannabis research and to translate the results efficiently into clinical practice, health policy, and public health programs.”

The funding includes $4.5 million from the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction to support research examining the public health impact of Canada’s new cannabis laws. A $2.8-million contribution from the Mental Health Commission of Canada will address key research gaps related to cannabis use and mental health.

Bill Blair, minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction, also announced $390,000 under Health Canada’s Substance Use and Addictions Program for two cannabis public awareness projects in Alberta.

The University of Calgary received funding for a cannabis café education and discussion series aimed at helping UCalgary students learn about the immediate and long-term effects of cannabis use and increasing awareness of Canada’s Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines. The Alberta Rural Development Network received funding to support rural communities in educating their populations about cannabis.

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