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First Arthritis Society-funded study into medical cannabis announced

The Arthritis Society is pleased to announce a three-year research grant to Dr. Jason McDougall of Dalhousie University to investigate medical cannabis and its impact on arthritis pain and disease management. Dr. McDougall is one of the world’s foremost pain researchers.

In a position paper last September The Society committed to funding research into medical cannabis, since the majority of Canadians who are authorized to use it do so to help manage their arthritis pain.

“People living with arthritis pain are looking for alternatives to improve their quality of life,” says Janet Yale, president and CEO of The Arthritis Society. “We need research to help answer the many important questions around medical cannabis and its use. Our goal is to give Canadians the ability to make informed choices about their treatment options and to give physicians evidence-based guidelines to make treatment recommendations for their patients. This project is an important step to achieving these goals.”

For osteoarthritis (OA), an emerging theory is that part of the pain is neuropathic in nature – arising from damage to the nervous system rather than physical joint degeneration. This may explain why current therapies are only mildly effective in managing OA pain. The research funded by The Arthritis Society will examine the ability of cannabis-like compounds to repair joint nerves and thereby relieve neuropathic pain from OA.  Dr. McDougall’s project was selected following an extensive multi-disciplinary peer review process that ranked competing submissions from outstanding Canadian researchers.

In addition, later this year, The Arthritis Society will convene the first national conference on medical cannabis bringing together key stakeholders to develop a shared plan to advance research in this field. Two Ontario-based medical cannabis licensed producers have announced their support of this plan: Aphria Inc. and The Peace Naturals Project have each committed $100,000 to The Arthritis Society to help fund future education and research projects.

“We are proud to do our part to help fuel new discoveries in the field of medical cannabis and work together towards the shared goal of erasing the pain for millions of Canadians living with arthritis,” says Aphria CEO Vic Neufeld. “The Arthritis Society’s position paper was a clarion call for our industry, and for all parties, to come forward and collaborate on a comprehensive plan to advance our understanding of arthritis and medical cannabis.”

“This is a tremendous opportunity in Canada to build a base of scientific knowledge around medical cannabis together,” says Mark Gobuty, CEO and founder of The Peace Naturals Project. “We are thrilled to collaborate with The Arthritis Society and help find the answers that may change the lives of so many Canadians in chronic pain.”

“It’s gratifying to see such important stakeholders responding to our call to help fund research into this field,” says Yale. “More funding helps speed the process of studying medical cannabis, bringing us closer to potentially breakthrough findings.”

For more information about arthritis or to make a donation to The Arthritis Society, please visit


The Arthritis Society has been setting lives in motion for over 65 years. Dedicated to a vision of living well while creating a future without arthritis, The Society is Canada's principal health charity providing education, programs and support to the over 4.6 million Canadians living with arthritis. Since its founding in 1948, The Society has been the largest non‐government funder of arthritis research in Canada, investing nearly $190 million in projects that have led to breakthroughs in the diagnosis, treatment and care of people with arthritis. The Arthritis Society is accredited under Imagine Canada's Standards Program. For more information and to make a donation, visit

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For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Douglas Emerson
National Manager, Communications – The Arthritis Society
tel: 416-979-3348 x3349
cell: 647-706-0440
email: Back to News