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One of the wonderful things about living in a country that has legalized medical cannabis is that our institutions of higher learning have the freedom after a 50 year moratorium to study and research and publish. In fact, the government is actively encouraging research and funding universities and Public Health centres.

While there are still many hurdles that researchers have to go through, including an exemption request from Health Canada and then sourcing materials from the private sector that fit the particular profile of what they want to study (from only 60 or so licensed producers). Proposed changes in the regulatory framework will speed up the process and make this a less onerous task for researchers. The federal task force made the further announcement in January of 1.4 million dollars worth of grants the federal government is making available for research through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research(CIHR).

In 2016, researchers from the CIHR, the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, Health Canada, Public Safety Canada and a variety of other stakeholders met to determine Canada’s research priorities and Health Canada is now looking to those researchers to help them answer the questions around Endocannabinoids, our health, what it does to our brains. Both government and private industry have teamed up in some cases to study cannabis.

There remains only a single university that has studied and begun to publish the science behind the growing of cannabis, testing of substrates and methodologies  – Guelph University.

Here is a list of some of the top 5 research findings from Canadian universities and a preview on what is coming and a reason why 389 is the answer;

1. Guelph University researchers supplied by a Canadian registered Licensed Producer, released a study on the optimal uptake of nutrients in cannabis and the effect on yield and cannabinoid production. This is probably the only time you will read in a research paper that the OG Kush x Grizzly cross was placed in paper bags for drying before being scaled. The amazing thing that occurs to me in reading this study is how they got a couple of growers in a room to agree on only half a dozen variations of the best way to grow.

It turns out that when everything is optimal there is a correlation between fertilizer uptake, growth rates and the final yield of the the plant. That number in UofG study where “yield responded to fertilizer rate quadratically with the highest yield at a rate that supplied 389 mg N/L” and at that rate you can expect about 45g of dried flower per plant.

Coming in 2018 from their research department will be research the production of high value terpenes and research specifically looking at LED lighting and light tuning strategies.

3. University of New Brunswick and St Thomas in the same week announced that they are hiring chairs to head cannabis research within the university.

2. University of Saskatchewan has made a 5 year investment with the help of CIHR and a pharma company to create a chair to investigate the interaction of Cannabinoids with our Endocannabinoid system. While the pharma’s stated goal is to replace cannabis with a synthetic version, this will at least have publishable results around methodologies.

4. The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) with Dr. Sergio Rueda examine how cannabis legalization affects diverse communities in four provinces, including Indigenous and racialized communities

5. Phil Tibbo, Department of Psychiatry, Dalhousie University
Investigating cannabis effects on brain structure and disease course in early phase psychosis.