Canopy Growth to fund Professorship of Cannabis Science at University of British Columbia to research the role of cannabis in addressing the opioid overdose crisis
published on June 6, 2018
Canopy Growth Corporation (TSX:WEED) (NYSE:CGC) (“Canopy Growth”) is proud to announce that it will contribute CDN $2.5 million to the University of British Columbia (“UBC”) and BC Centre on Substance Use (“BCCSU”) to fund research into the potential utility of cannabis in addressing the overdose crisis. The funds, provided over a two-year period, will establish the Canopy Growth Professorship in Cannabis Science and create an enduring legacy of research through the Canopy Growth Cannabis Science Endowment Fund.
Through an investment from the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions towards research leading to solutions to the overdose crisis, the BCCSU will contribute an additional $500,000 in funds held at the St. Paul’s Foundation. The investment had been pending contributions from a matching philanthropic donation, which is now being provided by Canopy Growth.
“We are working across government and across all sectors to find new, evidence-based ways to save more lives from overdose and help more people find a pathway to hope and healing,” said Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “It’s encouraging to see private industry step forward to support our efforts to turn the tide on this unprecedented crisis.”
Preliminary research suggests that medical cannabis might have a beneficial role to play in the response to the crisis. However, the therapeutic promise of medical cannabis for substance use disorders has rarely been rigorously evaluated through controlled trials, the gold standard of medical research. The funding partnership announced today aims to define the potential benefits of cannabis as a legitimate therapeutic treatment.
“Our business strives to be a part of the communities it calls home. Here in British Columbia we feel a responsibility to make investments that matter to this community,” said Mark Zekulin, President, Canopy Growth Corporation. “With Vancouver on the frontlines of the overdose crisis, the Canopy Growth Cannabis Science Endowment Fund is an important first step in improving the lives of those affected and creating a legacy of medical cannabis research in Canada that can be used around the world.”
Last year, an estimated 4,000 Canadians died of an opioid overdose; more than 1,400 were British Columbians. The province declared a public health emergency in 2017 in response.
“The opioid crisis is a public health emergency and the Faculty of Medicine cannot sit on the sidelines – it is our responsibility as a part of our contract with society to try to find answers to tremendous social challenges,” said Dermot Kelleher, Dean, UBC Faculty of Medicine. “UBC is pleased to partner with Canopy Growth to generate new knowledge that may stem the tide of opioid overdoses and contribute to improved health and wellbeing.”
The development and support of a professorship in medical cannabis research is a key approach to understanding and identifying ways to address the complex issues of substance use and addiction, and how medical cannabis may impact both.
Today’s funding announcement continues Canopy Growth’s proud tradition of Corporate Social Responsibility (“CSR”) and dedication to medical research. Last week, the Company announced that Dr. Mark Ware, a leading researcher in the cannabis field, will join the senior leadership team at Canopy Growth as Chief Medical Officer. The Company has also recently announced that it intends to acquire all outstanding shares in its affiliated cannabis research arm, Canopy Health Innovations Inc. Together, these strengthen Canopy Growth’s rapidly evolving ability to coordinate, research and develop sophisticated cannabis medicines capable of improving patients’ lives and provide further clinical evidence for healthcare practitioners and governments in Canada and around the world.
Until today Canopy Growth’s CSR initiatives have addressed the societal impacts of cannabis by funding awareness and education initiatives. This is true of Canopy Growth’s support for education and responsible driving campaigns in partnership with the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition and MADD Canada and it is true for Canopy Growth’s support for youth education tools being developed by Parents Action on Drugs based on research by Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy.
The initiative announced today aims to reduce harms other drugs cause Canadian society and define the potential benefits cannabis has as a legitimate therapeutic treatment.