Canopy Growth, Canada’s largest cannabis and hemp company, just announced a $2.5 million contribution to the University of British Columbia (UBC) and BC Centre on Substance Use (BCCSU) to help fund research into the role of cannabis in addressing the opioid overdose crisis.
“The funds, provided over a two-year period, will establish the Canopy Growth Professorship in Cannabis Science and create an enduring legacy of research through the Canopy Growth Cannabis Science Endowment Fund,” stated a press release earlier today.
“Our business strives to be a part of the communities it calls home. Here in British Columbia we feel a responsibility to make investments that matter to this community,” said Mark Zekulin, President, Canopy Growth Corporation. “With Vancouver on the frontlines of the overdose crisis, the Canopy Growth Cannabis Science Endowment Fund is an important first step in improving the lives of those affected and creating a legacy of medical cannabis research in Canada that can be used around the world.”
While preliminary research suggests that cannabis might play a beneficial role in the response to the crisis, there have been few controlled trials to define the potential benefits of cannabis as a legitimate therapeutic treatment.
“We are working across government and across all sectors to find new, evidence-based ways to save more lives from opioid overdose and help more people find a pathway to hope and healing,” said Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “It’s encouraging to see private industry step forward to support our efforts to turn the tide on this unprecedented crisis.”
Last year, an estimated 4,000 Canadians died of an opioid overdose; more than 1,400 were British Columbians. The province declared a public health emergency in 2017 in response.
“The overdose crisis is the greatest public health emergency of our time, and the Faculty of Medicine cannot sit on the sidelines – it is our responsibility as a part of our contract with society to try to find answers to tremendous social challenges,” said Dermot Kelleher, Dean, UBC Faculty of Medicine. “UBC is pleased to partner with Canopy Growth to generate new knowledge that may stem the tide of opioid overdoses and contribute to improved health and wellbeing.”