August 9, 2017 5:12 pm
Updated: August 9, 2017 8:01 pm

University of New Brunswick announces cannabis research chair

WATCH ABOVE: The University of New Brunswick announced today it’s establishing a cannabis health research chair to look into medicinal value and pharmacology around cannabis. Adrienne South tells us more.

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The University of New Brunswick has announced the post-secondary institution will have a health research chair in cannabis.

This will be the first research chair in pharmacological sciences globally, and the second university in New Brunswick to have a cannabis related research chair, after St. Thomas University announced their chair in May — focusing their research on social policy.

READ MORE: N.B. to set legal marijuana age at 19, sale through crown corporation

New Brunswick Health Minister Victor Boudreau said UNB’s chair will help keep the province positioned as an industry leader, as the federal government moves towards the legalization of marijuana in 2018.

The New Brunswick Health Research Foundation and Tetra Bio-Pharma announced they will each invest $500,000 over five years, for a total investment of $1 million.

READ MORE: Fredericton interested in economic benefits of marijuana production, distribution

Boudreau said the province provides the foundation with funding, allowing them to go find partnerships.  He said the government will continue to support the New Brunswick Health Research Foundation because this type of research is important.

“I’m told that this particular research chair announced here today is first in the world so it really puts New Brunswick on the map and I think that’s great that we’re able to partner with industry in this way and be able to conduct this type of research here at home,” Boudreau said.

Boudreau said the Gallant government understands the importance of balancing public safety and public health.

Tetra Bio-Pharma board of directors chairman Andre Rancourt said the company has completed a phase one clinic trial in Moncton and is ready to move forward with phase three.

“We’re proud to tell you that we’re the first one running a clinical trial on a pharma basis to be able to support all the doctors around the world to have the science they need to prescribe the cannabis products,” Rancourt said.

UNB’s research chair in cannabis will focus on medicinal use, the pharmacology of cannabis and biochemistry.

READ MORE: With legalization on the horizon New Brunswick establishes marijuana research chair

Boudreau said this chair is about understanding the medicinal value and the pharmacology around cannabis and said there’s not a lot of research yet, despite physicians across the world and Canada prescribing medical marijuana   He said there’s never  been this type of research done to look at which types of chronic disease cannabis has a positive impact on.

“I think this is about creating partnerships. When you have a company that’s within the industry wanting to invest in research, obviously our research capacity is through the New Brunswick Health Research Foundation, so they try to seek out partnerships like the one we’ve announced here today to be able to conduct state-of-the-art, world quality research here in the province of New Brunswick,” Boudreau said.  “And you know, we get the economic spin-off of that but we also get the research and the knowledge and the outcomes from that.”

READ MORE: Ahead of legalization, N.B. doctors release education program on marijuana health risks

Funding for the chair is expected to start in the 2017-18 fiscal year. MaGee said the chair will likely be selected by April 2018.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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