October 15, 2018 9:13 am

Legal marijuana will open up scientific research: UBC scientist

FILE - In this Sept. 20, 2018, file photo, an employee at a medical marijuana cultivator works on topping a marijuana plant, in Eastlake, Ohio. Voters in Missouri have three competing proposals on the ballot dealing with medical marijuana in the November election. Two would amend the Missouri Constitution; the other would simply change state law. (AP Photo/David Dermer, File)

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Legal pot is going to mean a shift in how scientists study cannabis and what they study, according to a UBC researcher with the B.C. Centre for Substance Use.

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M.J. Milloy says strict regulations, similar to those with heroin, have meant studies on marijuana up until now have focused on harm, not the medical benefits.

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But, he says with legalization on Wednesday, the federal government is signalling a change in the regulations for studying pot.

“It’s easier to for researchers to grow, to amass and administer cannabis,” Milloy said. “That will be good news not only for people like me in the medical sphere but also my colleagues in botany who are interested in learning more about the cannabis plant and other fields of scientific inquiry.”

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Milloy says researchers are excited.

“The real excitement around legalization is that we’ll finally be able to paint the whole picture of cannabis, not only the possible risks and harms that it presents to people but also the possible benefits.”

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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