A new pot professor from the University of British Columbia will lead a study to look at the potential of marijuana as a treatment for opioid use disorders.
On Friday, November 23, M-J Milloy, a leader in the field of epidemiology and respected research scientist, was announced as professor of the inaugural Canopy of Growth from Cannabis Science. His appointment was made possible thanks to a $ 2.5 million gift from Canopy Growth, a large marijuana producer, and $ 500,000 from the province of British Columbia.
Canadian Opioid Crisis
The main objective of Milloy's research, according to UBC, is to find evidence that marijuana can have a positive impact on people affected by opioid use disorders. In the past few months, 1,143 people in British Columbia have died from suspected overdoses
Canada, like the United States, has an opioid crisis. Estimated by the government
that in 2017, around 11 people were lost every day due to opioid overdoses. The majority of victims, about two-thirds of all opioid-related deaths, are men.
Although there are available treatment options, previous studies have revealed that less than one third of people enrolled in opioid agonist therapy, or OAT, remain after six months. This is alarming because dropping out of addiction treatment is a major risk factor for death from overdose.
Opioids include fentanyl, oxycodone, morphine, codeine, and heroin. Some opioids are prescribed by a doctor
to treat severe pain, but it can also be obtained illegally.
Cannabis Key To Ending Opioid Crisis?
UBC hopes that Milloy's research findings can add to the evidence of claims that marijuana can better support people who suffer from opioid use disorders. If successful, it can open the way for the introduction of cannabis-based therapy.
"We need all-hands-on-deck to save lives and help people find care and recovery services that will work for them in the long run," said
Judy Darcy, British Columbia Minister of Health and Mental Addiction. "Our government has been brave and innovative in providing treatment options – based on evidence – for people living with addiction. This first-of-kind professor will lead research and clinical trials on how cannabis products can be used to overcome the overdose crisis that takes three to four daily life. "
Milloy's previous research focused on the reciprocal relationship between drugs and HIV. He also investigated the public health impact of legalizing marijuana
and marijuana medical applications for people with substance use disorders.