Ottawa, Ontario: Federal funding that had been earmarked to pay for clinical research on the therapeutic use of cannabis will no longer be available to investigators, under budget cuts announced this week by Canadian government officials.
The $7.5 million dollar Medical Marijuana Research Program (MMRP) , initially established in 1999, was axed as part of a government proposal to eliminate $2 billion in federal programs. A separate Health Canada program that oversees the production and distribution of medical cannabis to federally authorized patients will remain in place, at least temporarily, despite the cuts. Fewer than 300 Canadian patients are estimated to use cannabis provided by Health Canada due to its reportedly poor quality.
Despite earmarking funding for cannabis research, only one clinical trial investigating marijuana’s therapeutic potential was ever approved by Canadian health regulators. That study, which seeks to assess the safety and efficacy of smoked cannabis in chronic pain patients, remains ongoing.