March 18, 2020 (Edmonton, Alberta) The results for Stream 1 of the mCannabis competition, launched in December 2019, have been announced.      

Stream 1 aims to enhance our understanding of Cannabisphytochemicals (i.e., cannabinoids and terpenoids) for pain.  In Canada, pain is one of the most commonreasons for Canadians for engaging the health system.  Among the different pain types, chronic painis the leading cause of morbidity and disability.  Approximately 1 in 5 adults (i.e., sixmillion Canadians) experience chronic pain. The economic burden of chronic pain is estimated between $50 - 60 billionper year in both direct and indirect costs. Management of pain often relies on opioids; however, Canada faces a risein opioid-related harms.  To this end,identifying and advancing novel pain management strategies for the treatment ofpain is an urgent unmet clinical need. 

The mCannabis program is the first opportunity formedical Cannabis research and innovation in Alberta.  This is opportunity for stakeholders inAlberta's Cannabis ecosystem to collaborate in a coordinated way to advanceCannabis research and innovations that aim to enhance patient care, improvepatient outcomes, support training of health professionals, and responsiblygrow Canada's Cannabis industry.

Alberta Innovates acknowledges the collaborative supportprovided by Campus Alberta Neurosciences in launching this program.

  • 11 applications were received.  Five applications were selected for funding.
  • Applications were peer-reviewed by an academic panel consisting of scientists / clinicians from Canada (outside of Alberta) and the United States.  The panel was chaired by Dr. Mike Salter, Chief of Research at SickKids.
  • Total value for all five projects is ~$1.7 million with ~$1.5 million contributed from Alberta Innovates. 
  • Applicants contributed $140,000 cash through industry collaborations or other sources.  In addition, > $50,000 in-kind contributed by applicants.
  • Projects will run from March 2020 to March 2022.
  • The projects will examine ways that Cannabis can be used for pain management and how to understand their mechanisms using pre-clinical models.  

Below is a table that contains the successful lead applicants, institutions, project titles, and award amounts.  Alberta Innovates acknowledges all applicants that applied to Alberta's first medical Cannabis research call for proposals.  An update for Stream 2 (i.e., post market data use) will be published separately. 

Lead Applicant Institution Project Title Award Amount
Declan Ali, PhD University of Alberta The analgesic effects of cannabinoids and terpenoids on a zebrafish model for nociception and pain $300,000
Jason Dyck, PhD University of Alberta The effects of cannabis on cognitive function and pain management $300,000
Aaron Gruber, PhD University of Lethbridge Novel therapeutic potential of non-psychotropic cannabinoids in pain, inflammation, and depression $297,000
Tuan Trang, PhD University of Calgary Dissecting the central actions of cannabis for treating neuropathic pain $294,328
Gerald Zamponi, PhD University of Calgary Harnessing cannabinoids and their derivatives for the treatment of pain and itch: from understanding mechanism of action to the development of new therapeutics $286,066

Visit the Exploring Cannabis-Based Medicines and Tools (mCannabis) Program web page for more information.


Sunil Rajput, PhD
Senior Business Partner - Health Innovation