The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) is pouring funds into minority-focused research on the potential benefits and effects of cannabis on mental health.
The $2 million investment will be split between a total of 18 different qualitative research projects that pertain to the various relationships between cannabis consumption and mental health conditions such as depression. A huge highlight of the overarching project schema is the crucial focus on interacting directly with youth affected by these various conditions and have used, currently use, or plan to use cannabis with a particular focus on seeking commentary from a range of youth and adult minority communities. Youths are almost always excluded from these types of important research projects that either currently or will at some point directly affect their lives, so the idea of an organization so prominent as the MHCC devoting their time and interest to hearing from younger generations is an awesome and essential step in a positive direction. Rather than penalizing youths for rolling a joint wrap to help them relax, the MHCC wants to hear directly from them on their personal experiences and insights.
On the MHCC’s project page for this initiative, you can read more about the 18 projects that each have a specific focus and identify a specific minority group that the organization hopes to directly interact with in order to gain true, diverse, and viable insight. The fourth project listed, for example, states that it will “examine cannabis use and mental health challenges in [Sexually and gender-diverse youth] (SGDY) to address key gaps in services and resources supporting this population.” The third project listed, titled “Big Cannabis-Healthcare Relationships,” denotes its priority population of interest as “People who use drugs and Black communities who have been disproportionately affected by the historical criminalization of cannabis” – something many people in the cannabis industry are trying to shed more light on lately. As you can see, the projects are incredibly diverse even though they all reside under the same umbrella of one overarching cannabis and mental health research project.
These 18 well-funded research projects come just a few years after the Canadian government invested $10 million into mental health research. Today, there are a total of 40 of these projects and these latest 18 are some of the most promising and inclusive to date. The news of the 18 projects being funded comes just a few weeks after the United States Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) announced an inclusive 30-day public comment period, “during which they hope to hear from those directly impacted by the ‘systemic barriers’ the ONDCP’s existing policies create for them – specifically those in underserved communities and/or those who use drugs themselves,” according to our earlier reporting. As we all look forward to reform, equality, inclusion, decriminalization, legalization, and more, these types of projects from the MHCC and the ONDCP are, at the very least, encouraging and worth keeping our eyes on.