Q&A with UBC prof M-J Milloy on aims of new pot-use study

published on April 20, 2016 in CBC News

Study will seek to recruit 1,500 cannabis users to ask them about their consumption habits

Canada’s effort to legalize marijuana will compel legislators to come up with regulations for the drug over the next few months and some forthcoming research coming out of British Columbia may help them in that effort.

Health Minister Jane Philpott told the United Nations on Wednesday the federal government would bring forth its marijuana legislation in the spring of 2017.

Philpott said the government’s broader drug policy including its efforts to legalize pot will be rooted in scientific evidence and viewed from a public health perspective.

M-J Milloy, an associate professor of medicine at the University of British Columbia, is leading a new study that will seek to recruit at least 1,500 people who are 15 years of age or older, so they can be asked about their personal use of marijuana.

He spoke to Bob Steele, the host of CBC Radio’s Afternoon Drive, about the plans for study. Here are some highlights from that conversation.

The debate over pot safety and the debate over its efficacy, when it comes to health claims, has been raging for years. So, why undertake this study now?

I think, now, it’s quite timely to do this study, because, as you just mentioned, the minister has said that Canada has committed to legalizing cannabis and to constructing a public-health framework to control the creation, distribution and use of cannabis.

What this framework needs is evidence and evidence of the way Canadians use cannabis, the possible harms and benefits and that’s really what this study is going to set out to provide.

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