As Canada enters its second month following the nationwide legalization of cannabis, Dr. James MacKillop, HRI Senior Scientist and Director of the Peter Boris Centre for Addictions Research and the Michael G. DeGroote Centre for Medicinal Cannabis Research, is encouraging Canadians to think critically about cannabis use.
“Legalization has prompted an intense national discussion on cannabis, which is a very good thing”, says Dr. MacKillop.
“But the discussion needs to focus on facts and evidence, rather than opinion and anecdote. We need to think critically about where cannabis fits into the larger landscape, both as a recreational drug and as a potential treatment.”
In the news
Dr. MacKillop has contributed to a number of influential discussions aimed at helping Canadians make informed decisions about marijuana use:
- In a recent episode of the popular radio show and podcast, White Coat, Black Art, Dr. MacKillop and others answered some of Canada’s most pressing questions about the risks of cannabis, how it interacts with other substances, and the much-heated debate about cannabis as a healthier alternative to alcohol.
- MacKillop provided recommendations for parents when to talking to their kids about cannabis in an online feature for the Globe and Mail.
- In an October 16 Op-Ed in The Star, MacKillop and colleagues sought to debunk some of the most common myths related to cannabis use.
- The Hamilton Spectator recently featured Dr. MacKillop in an article shedding light on the gap between the perception of cannabis as a safer way to treat health conditions and the existing evidence to support these claims.
- On October 16, Dr. MacKillop appeared as a keynote speaker at the 2018 Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research (CIMVHR) Forum, where he discussed both the risks and benefits of cannabis, as well as emerging research on the use of cannabis for mental health indications.
Dr. MacKillop also led a recent roundtable discussion exploring the impact, benefits and risks of cannabis, as well as opportunities to advance research. Hosted by the Michael G. DeGroote Centre for Medicinal Cannabis Research, the roundtable involved stakeholders from across the mental health and addiction research community.
The bottom line: more research funding is needed to separate fact from fiction when it comes to cannabis use for both medical and recreational purposes.
Dr. MacKillop is recognized as a leading national expert on cannabis. His research integrates perspectives from psychology, psychiatry, cognitive neuroscience, and behavioral genetics to improve our understanding of psychoactive drugs.
Recently, Dr. MacKillop was awarded the 2018 Anne and Neil McArthur Research Award from St. Joseph’s Healthcare.
This award is presented to an internationally recognized researcher whose field of study is also a focus of research at St. Joseph’s Healthcare.
Congratulations, Dr. MacKillop, on this much-deserved honour.