“Canada’s regulations effectively force academic-industry partnerships such that only research that industry finds acceptable can move forward. Cannabis companies are the final arbiters of what studies obtain products to be tested.”
Academics affiliated with the University of Toronto are calling out the “purgatory” surrounding clinical cannabis research in Canada.
“Crucially, products sold in cannabis stores cannot be tested in human participants because commercial products do not meet the manufacturing requirements for research,” they write. “As a result, obtaining cannabis for research depends on the willingness, ability and good will of the cannabis industry to make research-grade products available, efforts that are unnecessary to sell product in the commercial market.”
The authors also note that this issue was highlighted in a letter signed by hundreds of scientists demanding changes in how clinical trials are regulated.
“Canada’s regulations effectively force academic-industry partnerships such that only research that industry finds acceptable can move forward,” the authors write, adding that some peer-reviewed funded studies have been cancelled for lack of research-grade and placebo products.
“Cannabis companies are the final arbiters of what studies obtain products to be tested,” they contend
Health Canada also requires research licences to store cannabis, a lengthy process that the authors argue is no longer necessary as cannabis is no longer a controlled substance.
University of British Columbia researcher Sam Livingston previously told The GrowthOp that it’s easier to grow cannabis in your backyard than it is to conduct research on it in a lab.
Receiving research permits from Health Canada requires an immense amount of paperwork outlining everything from details about the research facility and scope of the work, to site personnel and security.
“[Health Canada] is intimately aware of every process that happens from the ground up in terms of knowing what the facility is going to look like, who is going to be entering the premises and who is going to have the specific lock combination for the specific lock on the specific growth chamber,” Livingston said.
In The Lancet article, the authors conclude that Health Canada “must allow commercial products to be investigated for therapeutic and non-therapeutic purposes.”
“It is in the best interest of cannabis consumers and responsible cannabis companies to have their products tested by independent researchers,” they argue. “Otherwise, we all fail to protect public health.”
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