Cannabis Research

decorative image of cannabis plants


The Cannabis Act and its regulations provide —among other things— the framework for legal access to cannabis, and control and regulate the production, distribution and sale. Under this framework, a person is required to obtain a license issued by Health Canada in order to conduct various activities with cannabis, including research.

Health Canada has issued Western University the necessary institutional license to conduct research involving cannabis on campus, replacing the need for individual licenses.

Cannabis Institutional License

Western’s institution-wide license includes in-vitro and in-vivo studies, clinical trials, cannabis product development (not including administration to humans), analysis for non-testing purposes, educational programs and research with hemp. It does not cover the growth and cultivation of plants, analytical testing as a service, production of cannabis oils and non-therapeutic research.

Note: the license only applies to research conducted on Western's main campus; it does not apply to affiliated university colleges or hospital sites.

Cannabis Research Permit Program

Western has implemented a Cannabis Research Permit program in which Principal Investigators (PIs) must apply for a permit in order to conduct research with cannabis. Researchers are required to review Western’s Cannabis Research Program Guidance document and cannabis training module (coming soon) prior to submitting a permit for review and approval. The Guidance document and training module outlines requirements of the program, including responsibilities of the PI when conducting research under the institution-wide license. The Guidance document and Cannabis Research Permit can be found below. The completed permit must be submitted via email to Western’s Cannabis Research Program.

Note: if you are currently conducting research with cannabis and have already received a license from Health Canada, continue using your license for the time being. Depending on your study and, if your license is up for renewal, you may be eligible to apply for a permit under Western’s institutional license.

As a reminder all researchers who are utilizing an individual license for cannabis research will need to provide your license to Karen Gopaul so we have a better understanding of use/planned use across campus.

Cannabis Permit Documentation

Individual Licenses

If your research requires an individual project licence, contact Karen Gopaul to facilitate the necessary steps and security review. 

Cannabis Research Resources


For more information, please contact Karen Gopaul, Manager Quality and Research Compliance.