Cannabis workshop leads feds to push for more marijuana research

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The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health is ramping up efforts to research marijuana benefits

Last week, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) held a workshop designed to explore how marijuana could be studied under current federal guidelines and limitations. That workshop seems to have made a huge impact on the organization, as it has now announced four new research grants that target additional marijuana research and studies on the plant’s therapeutic potential. 

The grants will allow for studies on “natural products,” such as cannabis. One grant will be provided to study how cannabinoids, with the exception of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), affect pain and the other three will lead to studies on humans that involve broad clinical trials of natural products. The studies are designed to identify the “biological signature” of natural products, as well as to determine the best dose and formula for medical use.

Researchers who are interested in participating in the studies must submit applications to the NCCIH. The applications must provide comprehensive plans and the researchers must also receive approval from federal agencies, such as the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), to handle controlled substances.

Only one of the four studies to be led specifically mentions cannabis or marijuana – the other three only refer to “natural products.” This has led some to believe that the NCCIH is planning on increasing the cannabis research possibilities to be conducted through pre-existing funding channels.