The grant comes in the wake of a study published by the Drug and Alcohol Review in March that shows HIV patients who use marijuana daily have less than half the viral load in their blood compared to those who don’t use it. It is the first time marijuana has shown signs it could affect the disease itself and not just the symptoms.
Infectious disease epidemiologist at UBC M-J Milloy, the head of that study, will be able to continue his research with the money.
“We have long heard from our patients that they perceive that they obtain health benefits from cannabis use,” says Dr. Julio Montaner, head of the UBC Division of AIDS and director of the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS.
“This contribution will allow us to begin to rigorously assess whether these benefits are truly real.”
The partnership between National Green Biomed Ltd. and UBC is part of the school’s Start an Evolution campaign, which aims to raise $1.5 billion for students, research, and community engagement.
“One of the great virtues of universities is their willingness and freedom to look for answers in unconventional places,” says Arvind Gupta, UBC’s president and vice chancellor.
“Canadian attitudes on the issue of marijuana’s legality and availability are still very much in flux. But if marijuana can help reduce pain or nausea, or even treat disease, we have a duty to find out.”
National Green Biomed has applied and is awaiting approval from Health Canada to be able to produce and sell medical marijuana.