For the past few years, the opioid epidemic has been a scourge on society. According to a National Report done by the Canadian Government on Apparent Opioid-related Deaths in Canada, more than 10,300 apparent opioid-related deaths occurred between January 2016 and September 2018. In the first nine months of 2018 alone, 3,286 deaths occurred in Canada. 93% of those were accidental. The largest licensed producer of cannabis is investing in efforts to study how cannabis can help those with opioid use disorder. Canopy Growth Corporation has named UBC’s first Canopy Growth Professor of Cannabis Science, M-J Milloy, PhD.
The BC Centre on Substance Use (BCCSU) received $500k from the B.C. government for opioid overdose solutions research. Canopy Growth added $2.5 million to UBC and BCCSU to not only establish the Canopy Growth Professor of Cannabis Science but to also establish the Canopy Growth Cannabis Science Endowment Fund.
In a statement released by Canopy growth, the licensed producer notes the importance of M-J Milloy’s upcoming work. “As a substance use epidemiologist, his research has focused on the interrelationships between illicit drugs and HIV, as well as the public health impact of cannabis regulation and the medical application of cannabis and cannabinoids, especially for people living with HIV or substance use disorders.” The statement adds, “Examining the potential of cannabis in addressing the opioid overdose crisis and other substance use disorders is a top priority for Dr. M-J Milloy.”
The statement stresses that the professor’s research “will contribute to an emerging body of evidence suggesting that cannabis can have a positive impact on the well-being of people with opioid use disorder.”
Dr. M-J Milloy is optimistic. “Legalization has really touched off, I think, what will be known as a renaissance in cannabis science.” Dr. Milloy hopes that the legalizing of cannabis will lead to an influx of both public and private sector support for cannabis research. The hope is that more recreational cannabis business entities may gain the capital to reinvest in the medical side of the cannabis industry.