EDMONTON -- Edmonton-based Atlas Biotechnologies is partnering with the University of Alberta to explore new uses for medicinal marijuana.

Three new studies will research how cannabis products can help treat multiple sclerosis (MS), Huntington's disease and Alzheimer's.

“Because cannabis is now more accessible, people are touting it for all kinds of things, but without solid scientific evidence," Dr. Ross T. Tsuyuki, professor and chair of the Department of Pharmacology said in a written release. "We’re excited about the opportunity to do some real science around it to understand how these compounds work and if they can be used to treat human disease.”

The studies will explore cannabidoids for the treatment of pain and cannabis compounds for the treatment of neuroinflammation and degeneration. The third study will test the neuroprotective activity of cannabinoids.

“If we find something, even if it works just a little, that could be an enormous advance for patients," Tsuyuki said. "But we have to do our homework first, and that is where we're starting.”

Altas is donating almost $300,000 over the next two years to fund the research.

The company says it wants to be part of advancing the science of medical cannabis.

"Our vision is to have a product that will actually help patients with these different ailments and make their lives better,” said Atlas COO Jeffrey R. Gossain.

Atlas Biotechnologies owns and operates a 40,000 sq. ft. production facility outside Edmonton. The company's focus is producing and researching medical cannabis.

Atlas is also part of a research collaboration with Harvard Medical School, announced in May 2019.

medicinal cannabis in the lab