TRICHUM: Translating Research into Innovation for Cannabis Health at Université de Moncton
Supplying cannabis, and cannabis products, to a legalized retail market represents a major economic opportunity and has been identified as a growth opportunity under New Brunswick’s Economic Growth Plan (Province of New Brunswick, 2016). Indeed, the retail market value for recreational cannabis in Canada is expected to reach $8.7 billion annually (Deloitte, 2016); however, current production capacity will not meet the anticipated demand. Because the commercial production of cannabis has been illegal, and production has been largely artisanal and clandestine, cannabis has not benefitted from the application of biotechnologies (particularly genomics) that have led to massive increases in yields and sustainability of other agricultural production systems. In this innovative project, and working in close collaboration with OrganiGram Inc., a concerted research-driven approach will be developed to support the development and the growth of the cannabis industry in Atlantic Canada through the application and adaptation of novel biotechnologies. The research will seek to (a) improve cannabis productivity through inoculation with targeted beneficial microbial inoculants; (b) develop biotechnological tools for the control of cannabis pathogens and the generation of novel cannabis strains with improved traits; and c) develop genomics resources for cannabis varietal identification. The expected results from this project are closely aligned with New Brunswick’s Economic Growth Plan and will contribute to an economically viable cannabis industry by increasing production and revenue for Atlantic Canada cannabis producers; training of highly qualified personnel required to support the growth of this industry; developing proprietary technologies that can be marketed to other jurisdictions; and enhancing New Brunswick’s and Atlantic Canada’s role as a leader in cannabis research.