Can cannabis cure heart disease? That’s what Canadian cannabis company FSD Pharma and Israeli-Canadian firm SciCann Therapeutics hope to find out with a new research project aimed at developing proprietary cannabinoid-based treatments for preventing atherosclerosis.

Atherosclerosis is the underlying factor for most cases of stroke and cardiac stenosis events in the Western world. An estimated 8 percent of the adult population in North America suffers from coronary artery disease, the No. 1 killer in the West.

“There is a high unmet need for novel, safe and natural therapies that will ameliorate the damage caused by atherosclerotic plaques to the arteries and cardiovascular system,” says Dr. Zohar Koren, CEO of SciCann, who is heading up the research. “We believe that smart and targeted modulation of the endocannabinoid system may offer a new approach to treat this devastating progressive disease.”

The market for drugs addressing coronary artery disease is expected to surpass $15 billion in 2018, says Thomas Fairfull, CEO of FSD Pharma.

The research project will take place in labs at Tel Aviv University, which is a cosponsor “We are highly encouraged to launch this new research program in the heart of the thriving cannabis science and R&D ecosystem of Israel,” added Fairfull.

FSD Pharma received its medical cannabis license in Canada in October 2017. The company is headquartered in a former Kraft foods plant which the company says it hopes to transform into the largest hydroponic cannabis facility in the world.

SciCann Therapeutics is active in the fields of oncology, pain management, neurodegenerative diseases and inflammatory disorders.