Federal Government Will Spend $ 1.5 Million To Study Lesser Known Compounds In Cannabis
Meanwhile $ 300 million upwards are dedicated to other kinds of research
It’s a little strange that the US federal government has been studying cannabis for decades now, but we have no real idea what they’ve come up with. However, we do know that they are looking at studying compounds other than THC, particularly for treating pain.
Late last year, the federal government issued a notice saying that they are hiring researchers to analyze the 110 cannabinoids and 120 terpenes in the cannabis plant. “The mechanisms and processes underlying potential contribution of minor cannabinoids and terpenes to pain relief and functional restoration in patients with different pain conditions may be very broad,” reads the notice. “This initiative encourages interdisciplinary collaborations by experts from multiple fields – pharmacologists, chemists, physicists, physiologists, neuroscientists, psychologists, endocrinologists, immunologists, geneticists, behavioral scientists, clinicians, and others in relevant fields of inquiry.”
Following through on this, just on Thursday, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), one of the many agencies under the National Institutes of Health which is under the US federal government, announced that they are looking for researcher applications to study “minor cannabinoid sand terpenes.” The federal government is looking at awarding $ 1.5 million worth of grants during the 2019 fiscal year for selected researchers to analyze how other compounds in the cannabis plant can work as a safe alternative for painkillers. Additionally, the grants will be dedicated to studies assessing how compounds in the plant work exclusively and when combined with other known painkillers, reports Marijuana Moment.
“Early clinical data suggest that cannabis may enhance the potency of opioids in relieving pain; and the synergy from using these products together may result in more effective pain relief with lower doses of opioids,” says the NCCIH. “Yet, it is unclear which components of cannabis may have these properties. In particular, few studies have examined whether and which cannabinoids and/or terpenes interact with the opioid pain pathways.”
Specifically, the NCCIH is interested in studying cannabidiol (CBD), cannabinol (CBN), cannabigerol (CBG), cannabichromene (CBC), and several terpenes including Limonene, linalool, pinene, and humulene among others. “A growing body of literature suggests that the cannabis plant may have analgesic properties; however, research into cannabis’ potential analgesic properties has been slow,” reads the funding announcement. “One key mechanism to investigate is whether potential analgesic properties of cannabis can be separated from its psychoactive properties. To address this question, more research is needed into the basic biological activity of the plant’s diverse phytochemicals, specifically minor cannabinoids and terpenes.”
The NCCIH indicated many research topics including how cannabinoid and terpenes affect pain pathways; how sex, age, and ethnicity affect the analgesic properties of these components; learn about the pharmacology of cannabinoids and terpenes, how certain terpenes influence the analgesic properties of cannabinoids, and many more. The studies shouldn’t take longer than five years to complete, and once approved, may begin by September 2019. Applications from researchers should be sent in on or before March 15, 2019.
The Federal Government Simply Isn’t Allocating Enough Money For Cannabis Research
At the end of the day, it is the federal government and no one else that says cannabis remains illegal. But they’re also in charge of allocating funds for cannabis research. There is clearly some kind of a conflict in interest here.
One of the most notorious agencies within the federal government is the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), who had a monopoly over all the cannabis supplied to scientists and researchers for almost 50 years.
A report issued by the National Institutes of Health revealed that in the years 2015, 2016, and 2017, $ 111 million, $ 115 million, and $ 120 million respectively went into funding general cannabinoid research. Meanwhile, only $ 9 million, $ 12 million, and $ 12 million again respectively went into cannabidiol research during the same years.
That seems like quite a bit of money…
Until you compare it to the actual cash that went into tobacco research: $ 300 million in 2016. Alzheimer’s disease research received almost $ 1 billion, and more than $ 650 million went to breast cancer research. Sure, these areas of study affect more people and need more in funding, but cannabis can also be used to treat and prevent these conditions PLUS dozens more than afflict the general population on a daily basis including insomnia, nausea, pain, depression, anxiety, and so much more.
Until the federal government deems cannabis and its constituents an important issue by prioritizing cannabis research, it will continually block data that is vetted by the government as adequate for legalizing cannabis on the federal level.