The MHCC is funding 18 new one-year Catalyst grant research projects exploring the relationship between cannabis mental health. Learn more about the projects below.
 

2021-2022 (18 projects)
 

Youth-Led Development of Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines for Individuals Aged 13 to 18: A Pathway to Better Mental Health and Wellness (Victoria, British Columbia)

Priority population: Canadian youth ages 13 to 18 who use cannabis|
Lead organization: University of Victoria
Principal investigator: Dr. Cecilia Benoit

This project will engage youth ages 13 to 18 from a youth-focused drop-in clinic providing mental health and substance use support for the purpose of developing lower-risk cannabis use guidelines to better meet their needs and concerns.


Understanding Cannabis Use and Perceptions in Patients with Substance Use Disorders and Concurrent Disorders (Toronto, Ontario)

Lead organization: Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
Priority population: 2SLGBTQ+ individuals who use cannabis and live with substance use disorders
Principal investigator: Dr. Bernard Le Foll

This project will seek to understand cannabis use patterns, knowledge, motivations, and perceptions among individuals with cannabis use and substance use disorders who identify as 2SLGBTQ+. The aim of obtaining this knowledge is to help clinicians develop better treatment supports for this population.


Big Cannabis-Healthcare Relationships: Understanding the Commercial Determinants of Mental Health (Toronto, Ontario)

Lead organization: Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
Priority population: People who use drugs and Black communities who have been disproportionately affected by the historical criminalization of cannabis
Principal investigator: Dr. Daniel Buchman

This project will examine the relationships between health-care professionals and the cannabis industry (“Big Cannabis”) to explore the industry’s influence on lifestyle, research, and policy as it relates to the legalization of cannabis. Of particular focus is exploring the outcomes on Black communities, given that the cannabis industry is dominated by white-led businesses.


Exploring Cannabis Use and Mental Health in Sexually and Gender-Diverse Youth: A Qualitative, Community-Based Study (Montreal, Quebec)

Lead organization: Université de Montréal
Priority population: Sexually and gender-diverse youth (SGDY) who use cannabis and experience mental health issues
Principal investigator: Dr. Natalie Castellanos Ryan

This project will examine cannabis use and mental health challenges in SGDY to address key gaps in services and resources supporting this population..


GREENHOUSE: buildinG ResiliEncE iN youtH thrOUgh cannabiS lEarning (Vancouver, British Columbia)

Lead organization: University of British Columbia
Priority population: 2SLGBTQ+; immigrant, refugee, ethnocultural, and racialized (IRER); and Indigenous youth, as well as youth living in foster care and/or poverty
Principal investigator: Dr. Amy Salmon

This project will examine issues related to cannabis use and mental health among vulnerable youth, including Indigenous, IRER, and 2SLGBTQ+ youth, as well as youth in foster care. This youth-led research project seeks to identify meaningful and effective ways to foster resilience in young people with diverse backgrounds and life experiences in relation to both mental wellness and substance use, including challenges exacerbated by COVID-19.


Establishing Research Priorities: An Exploration of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Women and Gender-Diverse People’s Needs in Cannabis and Mental Health (Ottawa, Ontario)

Lead organization: Native Women’s Association of Canada
Priority population: Indigenous women and gender-diverse individuals who use cannabis
Principal investigator: Dr. Chaneesa Ryan

This project seeks to explore the impact of cannabis on the mental health of Indigenous women and gender-diverse people to address the current need and urgency for information about the effect of cannabis use among this population.


Medical Cannabis Use Among Canadian Veterans (Montreal, Quebec)

Lead organization: Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre
Priority population: Canadian Armed Forces veterans who use medical cannabis
Principal investigator: Dr. Steven Grover

This project, co-funded by Veterans Affairs Canada, seeks to engage, educate, and help Canadian veterans optimize their use of therapeutic cannabis for unmet medical needs.


PTSD-Cannabis Use Disorder Comorbidity: Associative Memory Mechanisms (Halifax, Nova Scotia)

Lead organization: Dalhousie University
Priority population: Adults ages 19 to 65 with a history of DSM-5-defined trauma who use cannabis
Principal investigator: Dr. Sherry Stewart

This project, co-funded by Veterans Affairs Canada, will explore the relationship between post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), cognitive processes, and cannabis use, including both the potential benefits and/or risks of cannabis use in patients with severe symptoms of PTSD.


The Impact of Cannabis Legalization and Availability on Incidence, Prevalence, and Health Services Utilization for Psychotic Disorders: Population-Based Evidence to Inform Policy Initiatives (London, Ontario)

Lead organization: University of Western Ontario
Priority population: Adults with a history of substance-induced psychotic disorders and non-affective psychotic disorders from the use of cannabis
Principal investigator: Dr. Kelly Anderson

This project, co-funded by the Schizophrenia Society of Canada Foundation, seeks to understand the impact of cannabis legalization on the incidence, prevalence, and uptake of health services for psychotic disorders in Ontario.


Insights about Cannabis and Psychosis: How Do Young People with Early Psychosis Conceptualize the Link Between Cannabis and Psychosis, Particularly Those from Black Racialized Backgrounds? (Hamilton, Ontario)

Lead organization: McMaster University
Priority population: ACB racialized immigrant young adults with emerging psychosis and cannabis use disorder
Principal investigator: Dr. Suzanne Archie

The perceived effects of cannabis on psychosis remain unexplored among ACB racialized immigrants in Canada despite reports of high rates of psychosis among this group. This project, co-funded by the Canadian Consortium for Early Intervention in Psychosis, will explore perceptions about cannabis and psychosis from the perspectives of ACB racialized young people with a first episode of psychosis and cannabis use disorder.


Cannabis Use and Priority Populations: Exploring the Relationship Between Cannabis Use, Mental Health, and HIV (Toronto, Ontario)

Lead organization: Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
Priority population: 2SLGBTQ+; IRER; and First Nations, Inuit, and Métis populations who use drugs and live with HIV
Principal investigator: Dr. Sergio Rueda

This community-based research project will explore the relationship between cannabis and mental health among participants living with HIV to identify opportunities to improve their mental health and/or the efficacy of cannabis use when they access mental health and substance use services.


Innovative Virtual Reality-Based Psychotherapy for the Treatment of Cannabis Use Disorder in Patients with Psychotic Disorders (Montreal, Quebec)

Lead organization: Centre de recherche de l’Institut universitaire en santé mentale de Montréal
Priority population: Adults living with psychotic disorders and cannabis use disorder
Principal investigator: Dr. Alexandre Dumais

Adults living with psychotic disorders are at a much higher risk of developing cannabis use disorder, although few evidence-based interventions exist for its treatment. This project will explore the impact of a virtual reality-based psychotherapy intervention on cannabis-related outcomes (i.e., frequency and quantity of use) and quality of life.


Ottawa Cannabis and Mental Health Project in Marginalized Populations (OCM): Examining the Experiences of Youth Using Photovoice (Ottawa, Ontario)

Lead organization: Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
Priority population: Racialized, 2SLGBTQ+, Indigenous, homeless, street-involved, and low-income youth ages 16 to 26 who use cannabis
Principal investigator: Dr. Smita Pakhale

This community-based project will use Photovoice to help marginalized youth explore the role of cannabis in managing their mental health in day-to-day life, providing insights into youth-specific patterns of cannabis use and its effect on mental health.


Cannabidiol as a Treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Among Canadian Veterans: A Pilot Clinical Trial (Toronto, Ontario)

Lead organization: Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
Priority population: Veterans with PTSD
Principal investigator: Dr. Kevin Shield

This project, co-funded by Veterans Affairs Canada, will build on existing research suggesting the effectiveness of CBD in the treatment PTSD in veterans. This clinical trial will explore CBD’s therapeutic effectiveness as well as facilitators and barriers to its use as a treatment for PTSD.


Understanding Cannabis Use by Canadian Veterans and Its Impact on Their Health, Well-Being, and Quality of Life (Edmonton, Alberta)

Lead organization: University of Alberta
Priority population: Veterans (and their family members) who use cannabis
Principal investigator: Dr. Suzette Bremault-Phillips

This project, co-funded by Veterans Affairs Canada, will explore the perceived positive and negative effects of cannabis use on veterans and their families, exploring reasons for its use and its perceived impact on sleep, pain, PTSD, moral injury, anxiety, pain, and daily function.


Patterns of Use and Experiences Related to Cannabis in Veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (Ottawa, Ontario)

Lead organization: University of Ottawa
Priority population: Veterans with PTSD who use cannabis
Principal investigator: Dr. Rébecca Robillard

This project, co-funded by Veterans Affairs Canada, aims to describe patterns of cannabis use, determine how cannabis use relates to mental health outcomes and adverse effects, and identify factors that may influence these relationships among veterans.


Cannabis and Mental Health Among Veterans in Canada: Understanding the Role of Trauma and Impact on Help-Seeking (Winnipeg, Manitoba)

Lead organization: University of Manitoba
Priority population: Veterans who use cannabis
Principal investigator: Dr. Tracie Afifi

This study, co-funded by Veterans Affairs Canada, will explore whether a history of child maltreatment and deployment-related traumatic events are associated with an increased likelihood of cannabis use. The project will also examine whether cannabis use is related to other substance use, mental disorders, suicidal behaviour, a perceived need for mental health care, help seeking for mental health problems, and barriers to care.


Understanding the Experiences and Complex Needs of People Who Use Cannabis and Live with Mental Health Issues (Toronto, Ontario)

Lead organization: Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
Priority population: IRER individuals with mental illness who use cannabis
Principal investigator: Dr. Sergio Rueda

This project will explore the experiences and perspectives on the relationship between mental health and cannabis among IRER individuals who live with mental illness, use cannabis, and are in contact with the mental health sector across Ontario.