Harvard, MIT Receive Grant to Study Cannabis, Cannabinoids

Cambridge, MA—Charles Broderick, alumnus of both Harvard University and MIT, gave $4.5 million to each institution to support research on the effects of cannabis, according to a press release from Harvard. It’s the largest donation to date supporting research into cannabinoids.

The press release notes that there are gaps in our understanding of how cannabis works on the brain and affects behavior. Broderick, an early investor in Canada’s medical marijuana market, said in the release: “I want to destigmatize the conversation around cannabis—and, in part, that means providing facts to the medical community, as well as the general public. We should all be working from the same information. We need to replace rhetoric with research.”

At Harvard, the gift will establish the Charles R. Broderick Phytocannabinoid Research Initiative at Harvard Medical School, which will fund research to generate fundamental insights about the effects of cannabinoids on the functioning of the brain and other organs, and on overall health. The press release says that the initiative will span disciplines, ranging from neurobiology and immunology to psychiatry and neurology.

At MIT, the grant will support research into the relationship between cannabis and schizophrenia from both therapeutic and developmental stances. Myriam Heiman, professor of neuroscience at the Picower Institute at MIT, noted: “Our lab’s research may provide insight into why several emerging lines of evidence suggest that adolescent cannabis use can be associated with adverse outcomes not seen in adults.”

For the full release, including details on the types of research funded, go here.