Medical and PharmaceuticalScience and ResearchBiotech company funds medical cannabis research into MS, Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s disease

Altas Biotechnologies Inc. donated nearly $300,000 to U of A for research over the next 2 years
Avatar Nick LabaDecember 3, 20194 min

More medical cannabis research is underway that could benefit patients with severe neurodegenerative conditions.

Atlas Biotechnologies Inc., a Canadian medical cannabis producer, is partnering with the University of Alberta to fund three research studies, the company announced Tuesday.

According to the release, Atlas donated nearly $300,000 to the university in order to fund three separate studies beginning in early 2020.

While the benefits of enjoying a casual, free-from-persecution doobie are not to be diminished, legalization in Canada has also cleared the way for long-awaited study into medical uses of the plant, some of which have been touted by advocates for decades.

With this partnership, Atlas joins the ranks of other cannabis companies funding research into medical applications of the plant — most notably Canopy Growth’s (TSX: WEED and NYSE: CGC) $2.5 million donation to the University of British Columbia and the BC Centre on Substance Use for studies on potential uses for weed in the overdose crisis.

Read more: Cannabis is the overdose prevention tool we don’t use: symposium

The research at U of A will focus on: cannabidiol (CBD) and other cannabinoids for treating pain in multiple sclerosis patients; cannabinoids in treating Huntington’s disease and neuroinflammation; and the disease-modifying effects of cannabinoids in Alzheimer’s patients.

Right now, the studies will involve testing cannabinoids on mice.

Atlas and the university are hopeful, the release said, that the data collected from these research studies will translate into future clinical trials and one day assist in the treatment of these diseases.

Department of pharmacology chair Ross T. Tsuyuki said that the increasing accessibility of cannabis is leading people to claim its benefits in many areas without scientific evidence

“We’re excited about the opportunity to do some real science around it to understand how these compounds work and if they can be used to treat human disease,” professor Tsuyuki said in the release.

Atlas gave thanks to Tsuyuki and the other U of A researchers for their work into better understanding the potential clinical applications of weed.

“Atlas hopes that its donation will help those researchers find and demonstrate the potential benefits of treatment with medical cannabis and evaluate how patients using medical cannabis can receive the relief they need,” Atlas CEO Sheldon Croome said.

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