Canada pledges $24 million for research on marijuana and health

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The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) recently announced that it would be pledging nearly $24.5 million to support marijuana research in the country. Reportedly, the funds will help support twenty-six projects throughout Canada “that cover topics such as the use of cannabis and cannabidiol (CBD) oil for the treatment of anxiety and pain.”

Furthermore, the CIHR said that the funding “will also support research teams that will explore the therapeutic potential of marijuana in areas such as chronic pain, cancer and neurodevelopment.”

The two primary reasons for Canada’s investment in cannabis research are:

  • To provide the evidence required to maintain policies for cannabis use that safeguard the health and well-being of Canadians.
  • To gather new information on the health benefits of cannabis.

Notably, Canada is the first major world economy to legalize marijuana for both medicinal and recreational uses. While in Quebec and Alberta, people aged 18 or over can buy, use and grow pot for recreational purposes, in other regions the legal age is set at 19.

The lack of credible research on the topic was what had prompted Charles R. Broderick, an early investor in Canada’s cannabis industry, to donate $9 million last month to Harvard and MIT for marijuana research.

“I want to destigmatize the conversation around marijuana—and, in part, which means providing facts to the medical community, as well as the general public,” Broderick had said at the time.

Of the total $24.5 million, $4.5 million would come from the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction “to support research that will examine the public health impact of Canada’s new law”; while $2.85 million would be given by the Mental Health Commission of Canada for “research aimed at filling gaps between cannabis use and mental health.”

Notably, the funding will also include a sum of $390,000 to support a pair of marijuana public awareness projects in Alberta.

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