Could marijuana help people get off opioids, or are we swapping one addiction for another?

The potential for cannabis to wean people off opioid addiction is getting renewed attention after Canopy Growth, Canada's biggest marijuana grower, gave UBC $2.5 million research endowment to investigate the idea.

Canada's biggest marijuana grower, gave UBC a $2.5 million research endowment to investigate the idea

The 'holy rollers' — volunteers with the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users — gather to roll joints to give away in medicinal packages. (Geoff Turner/CBC)
Listen23:23

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The University of British Columbia will be investigating the potential for cannabis to mitigate the harms of the opioid crisis, thanks to a research endowment from one of Canada's biggest marijuana growers.

Canopy Growth has pledged $2.5 million to create the Canopy Growth Professorship in Cannabis Science, with the province of B.C. adding another half million.

A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggested a link between cannabis legalization and lower rates of opioid prescription. But some experts argue that promoting marijuana use could just lead to a different set of problems.

Volunteers and clients at The Overdose Prevention Site in Vancouver describe the benefits they say marijuana offers. 2:29

To discuss the issue, The Current's guest host Piya Chattopadhyay spoke with:

  • Dr. Evan Wood, the director of the British Columbia Centre on Substance Use
  • Dr. Sharon Levy, the director of the adolescent substance use and addiction program at Boston Children's Hospital

Listen to the full episode near the top of this page.


This segment was produced by The Current's Geoff Turner and CBC Vancouver network producer Anne Penman.

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