Pot’s potential to treat opioid addiction the focus of new UBC professorship

published on June 6, 2018 by Perrin Grauer in The Star

VANCOUVER—The first professorship in Canada aimed specifically at researching the role cannabis can play in addressing the overdose crisis is being created at the University of British Columbia.

Evan Wood, professor and Canada Research Chair at UBC, said the two-year position will help produce concrete statistics on the use of cannabis in treating opioid addiction — a field of research Wood believes could provide data desperately needed to help lives.

“We’re in the midst of a horrid opioid crisis,” he told StarMetro by phone. “We need evidence-based approaches.”

Wood said studies of this kind have yet to find a firm foothold in traditional funding structures.

This is largely due to federally-imposed red-tape around the use of cannabis in scientific research — a consequence of decades of cannabis being treated as a dangerous drug.

“Cannabis prohibition has just been a tremendous failure,” he said. “We need to chart a new course.”

The position is being created in partnership with B.C.’s Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions, the B.C. Centre on Substance Use and Canopy Growth Corp. — Canada’s largest cannabis company and the first in North America to be publicly traded.

Canopy has announced it will donate $2.5 million to establish the Canopy Growth Professorship in Cannabis Science and the Canopy Growth Cannabis Science Endowment Fund to support ongoing research on pot.

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