New UBC Professorship to Look at Pot’s Potential in Easing the Opioid Crisis

published on July 24, 2018 by Alastair Spriggs in The Tyee

UBC is creating Canada’s first professorship of cannabis science to investigate the role that marijuana-based research could play in mitigating the opioid crisis and other addictive disorders.

The two-year position is being created in partnership with the BC Centre on Substance Use, the province’s Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions and Ontario-based medical cannabis company Canopy Growth Corp.

The professorship will investigate the potential use of cannabinoids as an immediate treatment for opioid addiction and as potential opioid substitutes in treating acute and chronic pain.

“Medical implications of cannabis have been neglected for far too long,” said Dr. Evan Wood, University of British Columbia professor of medicine and director of the BC Centre on Substance Use. “We are excited to have the opportunity to be positioned on the frontline of this research,”

Research has indicated that cannabis could play a decisive role in the mitigation of opioid addiction. A 2014 study showed that U.S, states with legal cannabis had 25 per cent fewer deaths from opioid overdoses than states where cannabis was illegal. An article published last year in the International Journal of Drug Policy surveyed 271 medicinal cannabis patients and found 63 per cent used pot as a substitute for prescription drugs and 30 per cent used it as a substitute for opioids.

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