Canadian medical cannabis producer Atlas Biotechnologies has given a $300,000 grant to the University of Alberta for research into cannabis as a therapy for multiple sclerosis (MS), Alzheimer’s disease, and Huntington’s disease, the Edmonton Journal reports. Throughout the U.S. and Canada, those conditions are already often approved for medical cannabis access but the researchers hope to find scientific proof as to why it works.
“There isn’t solid scientific evidence for most of what people are saying about cannabis,” said Ross Tsuyuki, U of A pharmacology department chair who is supervising the research. “We have the researchers that know these conditions that are possible targets for where cannabis could be beneficial.”
The funding agreement allows researchers full autonomy over how the study is conducted and how the results are used.
“The thing that we’re conscious of is that we can’t have industry driving the research. We have to have our independence. We need to have the freedom to design experiments in ways that are scientifically valid and to get the best answer possible.” – Tsuyuki, to the Journal
Anne Taylor, a pharmacology professor at the university, said she hopes the research will limit the use of opioids in pain management for the conditions.
“We are living in an opioid epidemic,” she said in the report. “There’s a strong need to develop novel, non-addicting therapies to try and manage chronic pain. We’re interested in utilizing the utility of cannabis, or cannabinoids, as being one of those types of drugs.”
The research associated with the funding is expected to take two years.