Michelle Thiessen

Cannabis and pain: Examining the relationship between cannabis use and pain sensitivity
Faculty of Arts
Zach Walsh
Vanier Scholarship

Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?

I was struck by the relative paucity of research on therapeutic and recreational cannabis use and I wanted to contribute to our understanding of the human-plant relationship that’s persisted for thousands of years. When I first started researching cannabis there was no indication that it would become legal anytime soon. Fast forward three years and the decades-long prohibition on cannabis is set to be lifted. It’s fascinating to bear witness to this policy change while examining the effects of it on society and individuals.

Why did you decide to study at UBC?

UBC’s Okanagan campus had everything I was looking for. The research and training opportunities of a world-class institution on a friendly and relatively small campus.

What is it specifically, that your program offers, that attracted you?

There was no question in my mind that I wanted to work with Dr. Zach Walsh--one of the leading cannabis and mental health researchers in the country. To my knowledge, his is the only clinical psychology research lab in Canada with a focus on the therapeutic use of cannabis.

What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?

You can have an impact on your campus and advocate for real change--all it takes is persistence.

What advice do you have for new graduate students?

Pace yourself--this is a marathon not a sprint.