On Oct. 17, 2018, the Cannabis Act came into force in Canada, legalizing non-medical cannabis products including fresh and dried cannabis, and cannabis oils. Cannabis edibles, extracts, and topicals including vaping products officially became legal in Canada on Oct. 17, 2019. However, there remain many unknowns about the health and safety effects of cannabis, as well as the behavioural, social, ethical and economic implications of legalization.
As part of an ongoing commitment to generate evidence on the health and safety effects of cannabis, the Government continues to invest in high-quality research to advance our understanding of the potential benefits or harms of cannabis use.
The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) developed the Integrated Cannabis Research Strategy (ICRS) to support the advancement and translation of scientific knowledge on cannabis in Canada. Through the ICRS, CIHR is making coordinated investments in cannabis research in order to build the evidence base on the potential benefits and harms of cannabis use under different contexts and establish rigorous clinical evidence for therapeutic uses of cannabis.
Team Grants: Cannabis Research in Priority Areas
The Team Grant: Cannabis Research in Priority Areas competition is funding research projects that will explore the potential therapeutic benefits and harms associated with cannabis use in target areas:
- Cancer: Research investigating the benefits and/or harms related to therapeutic use of cannabis in people living with cancer.
- Cardio-respiratory/sleep: Research into the impact of cannabis use on cardiovascular, respiratory and/or sleep health.
- Neurodevelopment: Research into neurodevelopmental outcomes associated with fetal/infant exposure through maternal cannabis use/exposure during pregnancy and/or early post-natal period, including breastfeeding.
- Indigenous Peoples’ health: Research into the impact of cannabis use on Indigenous Peoples’ health.
- Pain: Research into the potential therapeutic use of cannabis for pain.
- Arthritis pain: Research into the use of cannabis in the management of arthritis pain.
- Mental health: Research to investigate the potential harms and benefits of cannabis, the social determinants of health, as well as the needs of diverse populations experiencing cannabis use disorder and/or mental illness.
- Multiple sclerosis: Research into the use of cannabis to manage symptoms associated with multiple sclerosis.
- Veterans’ health: Research into the impact of chronic cannabis use for medical purposes on Veteran health and determinants of health, including social determinants of health.
Funding and partners
- Over $19.3 million was awarded to fund 14 grants.
- The maximum amount per grant is $300,000 per year for up to 5 years, for a total of $1.5 million per grant.
- The Canadian Institutes of Health Research partnered with the following organizations on this investment:
- Arthritis Society
- Canadian Cancer Society
- Mental Health Commission of Canada
- MS Society of Canada
- Veterans Affairs Canada
Team Grants: Partnerships for Cannabis Policy Evaluation
The Team Grants: Partnerships for Cannabis Policy Evaluation program supports researchers to evaluate policies that have been put into place related to cannabis that may impact the health of Canadians. These projects will evaluate the implementation and impact of cannabis-related policies, toward the identification of best practices from both public health and public safety perspectives.
The research funded through these grants will explore the impact of cannabis-related policies in areas such as:
- Youth cannabis consumption;
- Health care services, including hospital and poison control;
- Method of cannabis use (e.g. vaporization, smoking, or ingestion);
- Patterns of use in public versus private settings;
- Higher-risk patterns of use (e.g. frequency and potency);
- Rates of cannabis-impaired driving;
- Consumption of other substances;
- Mental health;
- Uptake and impact of public education campaigns; and
- Other health behaviours or indicators.
Funding and partners
- Over $2.45 million was awarded to fund 5 grants.
- The maximum amount per grant is $170,000 per year for up to three years, for a total of $510,000 per grant.
- The Canadian Institutes of Health Research partnered with The Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction for this funding opportunity