To date, much of the research focusing on marijuana has examined its negative health effects. However, new research grants totaling $8 million will allow medical experts in Colorado an opportunity to look closely at the drug’s health benefits.
The grants come from the Colorado Board of Health and will allow researchers to examine how marijuana usage can benefit people struggling with epilepsy, brain tumors, Parkinson’s disease, and post-traumatic stress disorder (or PTSD).
The grants, which still require approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), do not represent a large sum of money. However, researchers in this particular field believe they make an important statement and mark a visible step forward in marijuana research.
“This is the first time we’ve had government money to look at the efficacy of marijuana, not the harms of marijuana,” notes Dr. Suzanne Sisley, an Arizona-based psychiatrist who will play a leading role in a new study examining marijuana’s impact on PTSD.
The marijuana used for the research will be administered by the Marijuana Research Project based at the University of Mississippi.
Ironically, marijuana is not legal in Mississippi, though it is in Colorado and several other states. Dr. Larry Wolk, the Chief Medical Officer of Colorado, says the new research grants could go some way towards changing how Americans view marijuana. He believes that, at the very least, there needs to be more information available to people given permission to grow and consume marijuana.
“There’s nowhere else in medicine where we give a patient some seeds and say, ‘Go grow this and process it and then figure out how much you need,'” Wolk said.
“We need research dollars so we can answer more questions.”