Pot prof. investigates addiction

Published on November 25, 2018 by David Wylie

The University of BC has hired Western Canada’s first professor of cannabis.

He’ll focus right away on using cannabis to combat a deadly opioid crisis.

The numbers speak for themselves:

In the first nine months of 2018, it’s estimated that 1,143 people died of a suspected opioid overdose in B.C.

It may be a strange concept, but examining how cannabis could help prevent drug overdoses is one of the first priorities for M-J Milloy. He’s been referred to as Professor Pot – but his official title is the first Canopy Growth Professor of Cannabis Science at the University of British Columbia.

“The therapeutic benefits of cannabis are only just beginning to be understood,” said Milloy.

Initially, Milloy will lead clinical trials to explore the role cannabis can play in helping people with opioid use disorder stay on their treatment plan.

“Early research has shown that it could have a stabilizing impact for people with opioid use disorder, improving their quality of life and offering a pathway to long-term treatment solutions,” he said.

“In the midst of an overdose crisis, we have a scientific imperative to build upon this research.”

Milloy is a research scientist at the British Columbia Centre on Substance Use. As a substance use epidemiologist, his research has focused on the public health impact of cannabis regulation and the medical application of cannabis and cannabinoids.

Milloy’s research will contribute to an emerging body of evidence suggesting that cannabis can have a positive impact on the wellbeing of people with opioid use disorder.

This professorship was established through funding from Canopy Growth and the Province of British Columbia.

The province invested $500,000 to the BCCSU in support of research leading to solutions to the overdose crisis.

Canopy Growth is contributing $2.5 million to UBC and BCCSU to establish the Professorship and create an enduring legacy of research through the Canopy Growth Cannabis Science Endowment Fund.