The University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada received a major donation of $300,000 to help fund cannabis research.
According to the Edmonton Journal, Atlas Biotechnologies, an Edmonton-based medical cannabis producer, will be supporting cannabis studies at the University of Alberta. The cannabis studies conducted will look at possible treatments for multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease and Huntington’s disease.
“There isn’t solid scientific evidence for most of what people are saying about cannabis,” said Ross Tsuyuki, the scientist supervising the research and chair of the university’s department of pharmacology. “We have the researchers that know these conditions that are possible targets for where cannabis could be beneficial.”
The school is excited because the money is available for any research needs the school has and won’t be regulated by the donating institution. “The thing that we’re conscious of is that we can’t have industry driving the research. We have to have our independence,” Tsuyuki said. “We need to have the freedom to design experiments in ways that are scientifically valid and to get the best answer possible.”
Anne Taylor is another scientist at the university studying the use of cannabinoids to treat chronic pain for those with MS. She would like to see folks suffering from MS use fewer opiates and medicate with cannabis instead. “We are living in an opioid epidemic. There’s a strong need to develop novel, non-addicting therapies to try and manage chronic pain,” Taylor said. “We’re interested in utilizing the utility of cannabis, or cannabinoids, as being one of those types of drugs.”
The University of Alberta isn’t the first school to combine outside research money and scientific intelligence to work on learning more about cannabis. Washington State partnered with a pharmaceutical company to study cannabis, and the University of Maryland is even offering a Master’s program in cannabis studies.