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In early 2023, Yale School of Medicine announced the foundation of a new center for cannabis research. The center’s inaugural director recently provided commentary on the goals and direction of the research.
According to an announcement from the Yale School of Medicine (New Haven, Connecticut), a new research center called the Yale Center for the Science of Cannabis and Cannabinoids will use a multidisciplinary approach to study the acute and chronic effects of cannabis and cannabinoids on neurodevelopment and mental health (1). This new center will be directed by Deepak Cyril D’Souza, Professor of Psychiatry, and an expert in the pharmacology of cannabinoids (1). Notably, Dr. D’Souza also serves on the Physicians Advisory Board for Connecticut’s Medical Marijuana Program (2).
“Right now, the center has a broad interest in the impact of cannabis on the developing brain and on mental health,” Dr. D’Souza said in an interview with Yale News (1). “But that doesn’t mean there aren’t other topics of interest and relevance, and as we greenlight pilot projects, the center’s goals may become more focused. At the end of the day, we are doing this to generate the highest quality information that people can use to make decisions at many different levels—individuals, towns, public health departments, states, for example.”
Dr. D’Souza has been involved in educating the general public about the relationship between cannabis and psychosis, and also answered an interview question about whether the center is going to be for or against cannabis. “My answer is that we just want to collect information on the science of cannabis and cannabinoids. We want to advance the science,” he said (3).
Dr. D’Souza also said that more information will be coming soon about applications for pilot funding and on how the public can participate in studies.
Connecticut legalized the medical use of cannabis in 2012 and sales of legal recreational cannabis began earlier this year, following adult use legalization in 2021.