UBC introduces Canada’s first professorship of cannabis science

published on June 18, 2018 by Alastair Spriggs in The Ubysey

UBC is introducing Canada’s first ever professorship of cannabis science to investigate the potential role that pot-based research could play in the mitigation of the opioid crisis and other addictive disorders.

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

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

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

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

Locally, the Vancouver Downtown Eastside’s Overdose Prevention Society has reported numerous cases where access to cannabis has helped patients curb the effects of opioid withdrawal.

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