Cannabis Legalization a Catalyst for Research into Drug, Says Canada’s Pot Czar

Article by Bill Kaufmann, Postmedia News

Cannabis legalization a catalyst for research into drug, says Canada's pot czar Bill Kaufmann, Postmedia News

Ending cannabis prohibition has sparked research into the drug, with some of that activity taking place in Calgary, Ottawa’s pot legalization czar said Wednesday.

Just over $500,000 will be going towards University of Calgary research on how pot prevents migraines and induces cannabinoid hyperemesis, a condition marked by severe vomiting.

Some of that money will also fund a U of C awareness program featuring cannabis cafe education focusing on harm reduction.

The trio of initiatives are part of a $24.5 million Canadian Institute of Health Research package funding 26 study projects across the country that will help explore the benefits and drawbacks of cannabis use.

It’s a product of the federal government decision to legalize recreational cannabis use that took effect last October , said Bill Blair, Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction.

“That research across the country is going to help Canadians make healthier, safer choices, it’s going to help our kids,” said Blair, who’s Ottawa’s point man on cannabis legalization.

“It makes us a leader in the world because the world is looking to Canada as a place where research takes place — it can’t take place in so many places in the world, it can here.”

Blair, a former Toronto police chief, said it’ll also better inform the use of medical cannabis by helping physicians impart the drug’s benefits and risks to patients.

Canada’s move to be only the second country to legalize adult use of the cannabis was instrumental in advancing study into the substance, said Rebecca Haines-Saah of the U of C’s Cumming School of Medicine.

“It’s something that wouldn’t be possible in the prohibition era,” she said.

She said funding for the U of C awareness project will ensure youth will have meaningful input in how harm reduction programming is crafted.

“We’ll make sure their voices are front and centre in the development of resources and not just consulted on a token basis,” said Haines-Saah.

That work, she said, will target not just “mainstream” youth but those more vulnerable in using cannabis.

Read the full article here.

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