Exploring the usefulness of pot

A Thompson Rivers University professor aims to unlock potentially beneficial properties of cannabis

  • Nov. 2, 2017 1:30 a.m.
Exploring the usefulness of pot

By Cam Fortems – Kamloops This Week

A Thompson Rivers University professor is part of a research program aiming to unlock potentially beneficial properties of cannabis.

Bruno Cinel is an associate professor of chemistry who specializes in natural products. Through academic contacts, he became part of a consortium of university partners working on the project with Valens GroWorks Corp. and two related subsidiaries.

Valens GroWorks Corp. is listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange.

READ MORE: Growing marijuana industry sparks new research

The project is called the Cannabis Bio-products Toolbox, a collaborative study that will explore bioproducts that can be made from the plant, including pharmaceuticals, nutritional products and industrial fibre.

The work locally will utilize the university’s nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy.

The two-year project will see a post-doctoral researcher hired at Thompson Rivers University to do much of the research on cannabis and extracts derived from registered facilities in the Okanagan. UBC Okanagan is also involved.

Cinel said Valens CEO Rob O’Brien is an adjunct professor at TRU, making a natural partnership that will provide the company with science on cannabis while utilizing equipment and students in Kamloops.

“They’ll grow and produce the extracts down there [private facilities in Kelowna],” he said.

The project is funded in part through a $330,000 grant from non-profit agency Mitacs Canada.

Cinel said because marijuana has been illegal for so long there was little research done on it.

The black market cultivated strains high in THC, the compound that produces the buzz for users. But Cinel said there are many other chemical compounds that can be produced and studied that may provide other benefits.

“They don’t want the high, but may want anti-inflammatory properties in a sports drink [for example] that leads to quicker recovery,” Cinel said.