For the first time, Harvard University is entering the hazy world of cannabis research in a multi-million dollar partnership with a Canadian producer aimed at understanding the medicinal effects of marijuana.

Atlas Biotechnologies Inc. announced on Tuesday that it had secured a research collaboration with Harvard Global Health Catalyst at the Ivy League research university’s medical school.

The Edmonton-based company is a founding partner of the new International Phytomedicines and Medical Cannabis Institute at the school.

“It was kind of a game-changing opportunity that would allow us to not only create a collaboration with a really credible institution, but of course have access to the minds that can help us really prove the science behind the plant,” said Atlas CEO and President Sheldon Croome.

The initial partnership will last three years. Trials to study the effects of the drug, including whether they can play a role in chronic pain management and other neurological conditions, could begin as early as next year.