Exploring Cannabis-Based Medicines and Tools (mCannabis) Program

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What’s new?

mCannabis – Stream 1 Funding Results:

The mCannabis program has released the results for the competition launched in December, 2019.

  • Eleven (11) applications were received.  Five (5) 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.
Lead ApplicantInstitutionProject TitleAward Amount
Declan Ali, PhDUniversity of AlbertaThe analgesic effects of cannabinoids and terpenoids on a zebrafish model for nociception and pain$300,000
Jason Dyck, PhDUniversity of AlbertaThe effects of cannabis on cognitive function and pain management$300,000
Aaron Gruber, PhDUniversity of LethbridgeNovel therapeutic potential of non-psychotropic cannabinoids in pain, inflammation, and depression$297,000
Tuan Trang, PhDUniversity of CalgaryDissecting the central actions of cannabis for treating neuropathic pain$294,328
Gerald Zamponi, PhDUniversity of CalgaryHarnessing cannabinoids and their derivatives for the treatment of pain and itch: from understanding mechanism of action to the development of new therapeutics$286,066


This program is an opportunity for stakeholders in Alberta’s Cannabis ecosystem to collaborate in a coordinated way to advance Cannabis research and innovations that aim to enhance patient care, improve patient outcomes, support training of health professionals, and responsibly grow Canada’s Cannabis industry. These opportunities will align to Alberta Innovates’ three research and innovation priorities, the Alberta Research and Innovation Framework (ARIF), and will create economic and health value for Alberta citizens.

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

How the Program Works

Are you a researcher looking for funding for medical Cannabis research and pain?

Consider the Pre-clinical Research (Stream 1) of the mCannabis Program:
This program will support applicants in improving our understanding of Cannabis phytochemicals (i.e., cannabinoids and terpenoids / terpenes) for pain.

Projects will be supported for up to $300,000 for a maximum term of 24 months. Applications will be accepted until 4:00 pm MST, January 29, 2020.

We want to hear your ideas about how we can support and improve patient outcomes.

Consider submitting your ideas through the Post-market component (Stream 2) of the mCannabis Program:

This opportunity will explore big ideas on how Alberta Innovates can support the use of post-market surveillance data to improve patient outcomes and responsibly grow Canada’s Cannabis industry. Big ideas are encouraged through a Request for Information (RFI).

Responses to these RFIs will be used to inform a possible future program call. Applications will be accepted until 4:00 pm MST, February 12, 2020.

Submit your RFI by email to: inbox_grants@albertainnovates.ca with the email subject line: mCannabis – S2 – [Applicant LAST NAME]

Refer to Program Guide for details. If you still have questions, see our FAQ document.

Typical drug development process with Alberta Innovates’ approach to addressing the evidence gaps for medical Cannabis use.


Alberta Innovates’ investment for successful projects within Stream 1 of the mCannabis program will be for a maximum of $300,000 per project, up to 24 months. Funding applies only to Stream 1.

Stream 2 is not funded at this time; however, all submissions received as a result of Stream 2 will be used to inform a future competitive call.

Refer to Program Guide for details.


The mCannabis program seeks to:

  • Understand Cannabis phytochemicals for putative pain or analgesic properties (Stream 1).
  • Improve patient outcomes and grow Canada’s Cannabis Industry by understanding how Alberta Innovates can support the use of post-market surveillance data (Stream 2).
  • Provide a platform of engagement among medical Cannabis stakeholders to coordinate and collaborate to generate evidence and knowledge for more informed Cannabis use.
  • Provide advisory support for entities seeking engagement and input with healthcare delivery professionals and patients.
  • Promote Alberta-based research and innovation into local and global markets to support Canada’s Cannabis industry.
  • Realize economic and health benefits for Albertans.

Who can Apply

  • For potential Applicants seeking funding support for Stream 1 (i.e., phytochemicals and pain), Applicants must demonstrate a significant legal and physical presence in Alberta.
  • This opportunity is intended for any interested parties working with Cannabis. For potential Applicants seeking to contribute Big Ideas for Stream 2 (i.e., request for ideas – how can Alberta Innovates support the use of post-market data), anyone can apply. Intake is open to all Cannabis-related stakeholders.

Key Dates

ActivityDate / Time
Stream 1 – Application DeadlineWednesday, January 29, 2020 (4:00 p.m. MST)
Stream 1 – Adjudication Process Mid-February, 2020
Stream 1 – Funding Decisions and ResultsFriday, February 28, 2020
Stream 1 – Agreements Signed and Fully Executed Tuesday, March 31, 2020
Stream 2 – Submission Deadline Wednesday, February 12, 2020 (4:00 p.m. MST)
Stream 2 – Workshop to Prioritize ResponsesEarly April, 2020

Application Process