Marijuana has been legal through medical prescriptions in Canada since 2001, but doctors still don’t really know how the drug works. Now, McMaster University and St. Joseph’s Healthcare have jointly launched a new cannabis research centre that will help doctors determine what kind and how much to prescribe and also how to prevent potential harm, like addiction.
Jason Busse is one of the directors of the new centre for medicinal cannabis research “It’s a plant, not a pill, and there’s over 100 different components in there, some we know about and some we don’t.”
The two main active ingredients are THC, which creates the euphoric feeling favoured by recreational users and CBD, which has potent anti-inflammatory properties and is more promising for medical research.
“These two agents compete in the plant, so you can’t create a plant that has a lot of both, you have to choose what the ratio of those two elements are going to be.”
Patients at the Michael DeGroote Pain Clinic who have medical marijuana prescriptions can sign up for the patient registry and be part of the research. The research will track the long term implications of cannabis use and help doctors know when and how to prescribe the drug.