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UNB Creates $1-Million Chair To Research the Use of Cannabis in Healthcare

Image: The Canadian Press

FREDERICTON – The province continues to strengthen its research capacity in the marijuana industry with the University of New Brunswick’s announcing Wednesday that it will create a Health Research Chair in Cannabis, funded by the New Brunswick Health Research Foundation and Tetra Bio-Pharma Inc.

The chair will focus on the study of biochemistry, medicinal use and pharmacology of cannabis. Dr. David MaGee, acting vice-president (research), said this position will expand the university’s commitment to research and innovation in the field of natural product and biomedical, health and life sciences.

“The cannabis health research chair – the first in pharmacological sciences – is a key example of the university’s commitment to discovery,” said MaGee in a release. “We believe in the power of research to advance innovation within New Brunswick. With 75 per cent of the province’s publicly funded research taking place at UNB, we’re thrilled to play a central role.”

This is the second announcement of its kind in the past few months. In May, St. Thomas University announced it was creating a Health Research Chair in Cannabis, with $1-million in funding from Shoppers Drug Mart and the New Brunswick Health Research Foundation.

The UNB chair will also receive $1-million in funding – $500,000 from New Brunswick Health Research Foundation and $500,000 from Tetra Bio-Pharma Inc.

Tetra Bio-Pharma, which develops bio pharmaceuticals and health products containing cannabis, says it combines the traditional methods of medicinal cannabis use with the supporting scientific validation and safety data required for inclusion into the existing bio pharma industry by regulators physicians and insurance companies.

“Over the past few years, the province of New Brunswick has positioned itself on the forefront as global leaders in the development of cannabis products for health care,” said Dr. Guy Chamberland, chief scientific officer of Tetra Bio-Pharma. “The Tetra team has partnered with the New Brunswick Health Research Foundation to help bring innovative cannabis-based therapies to patients.

“This new chair will contribute significantly to this network by providing crucial information on the safety toward implementing new cannabis based products to practitioners working to help improve the quality of life for patients specifically living with chronic pain.”

As was the case with the STU announcement in May, the provincial government gave its full support to researching the use of cannabis in healthcare.

“Health research is instrumental in helping us find better ways to provide patient care in our province,” said Health Minister Victor Boudreau. “This new cannabis research chair will certainly provide crucial and innovative information on the use of cannabis as a medical treatment.”