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Dr. M-J Milloy, a well-known expert in the field of epidemiology, has been appointed as the first Canopy Growth Professor of Cannabis Science at the University of British Columbia. His appointment is expected to boost the research on the role of cannabis in opioid overdose treatment.

Dr. Milloy would examine the potential of cannabis in addressing the opioid overdose crisis and other substance use disorders during the initial stage, he will lead clinical trials to investigate on the possible role of cannabis in the treatment of people with opioid use disorder.

It is estimated that 1143 persons died of a suspected opioid overdose in British Columbia in 2018 alone.

“We need all hands-on-deck to save lives and help people find the treatment and recovery services that will work for them long term,” said Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “Our government has been bold and innovative in providing treatment options – based on evidence – for people living with addiction. This first-of-its-kind professorship will lead research and clinical trials on how cannabis products can be used to address the overdose crisis that is taking three to four lives a day.”

Dr. Milloy is a research scientist at the British Columbia Centre on Substance Use (BCCSU). As a substance use epidemiologist, his research has focused on the interrelationships between illicit drugs and HIV, as well as the public health impact of cannabis regulation and the medical application of cannabis and cannabinoids, especially for people living with HIV or substance use disorders.

He said: “There’s a clear need for significant resources and innovative collaborative leadership from industry, government, and academia to address the overdose crisis which continues to have a devastating impact on families and communities across Canada. Today, we acknowledge the lived experience of those affected and proudly support this significant step in building a legacy of medical cannabis research with a goal to positively impact those living with substance use disorders around the world. Dr. Milloy is a passionate, dedicated scientist who focuses on research that has a real-world impact, and we are thrilled UBC has selected him as the Canopy Growth Professor in Cannabis Science.”

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.

This appointment would lead to more unexplored avenues in cannabis science and more productive uses for cannabis.