We’ve heard countless times politicians and lawmakers use the old excuse, “There’s just not enough research on the matter…” to stifle any attempts of legalization. For the most part, we blindly accept this to be true.
“Well – there isn’t enough accepted research on the subject matter, so bleh…” you may say. The fact of the matter is that you’re wrong – we all are. In fact, there is so much research on this – the excuse of “not enough research” becomes insulting when you look closer at the data.
How much have been spent on Cannabis Research?
Over the past twenty years – a whopping $ 1.56 billion has been spent on cannabis research between the US, Canada and the UK. This was revealed by a new analysis by Jim Hudson who reviewed more than 3200 publically available grants from 50+ funders between 2000-2018.
This begs the question; “How many more billions of dollars would justify enough research?” It would seem that after nearly twenty years, we should have accumulated enough data to show that cannabis is – safer than aspirin. Which it is.
And if you can buy aspirin over the counter or even at your nearest 7/11…why can’t we do the same for cannabis?
This is where things start taking a turn.
Cannabis Research with a side of Bias
Hudson took the data and divided the grants into five major categories.
Harms of Marijuana
Endocannabinoid system in Humans
Isolated Cannabinoids (THC, CBD, etc)
Social or Political issues around cannabis
Medical uses of cannabis
Once the data was compiled – Hudson discovered that research into the Harms of Marijuana received 20x more funding than the other categories. Over the period of 19-years, half of all the money spent on studying marijuana was specifically directed to discovering the “Harms of Cannabis”.
This could be because the largest funder of all cannabis research is NIDA. NIDA or the National Institute on Drug Abuse focuses on finding data that supports the narrative of “Drug Abuse”. This means that all of the research directed towards cannabis is finding what’s wrong with it.
That goes to show – that after nearly two decades and roughly $ 750 million dollars – NIDA could hardly find any real negatives about cannabis. That’s quite remarkable. Most of their findings are speculative as well which often enough “requires more research”.
This means that half of the studies published about weed are specifically geared to frame it in a negative concept. These are the same studies that organizations like SAM uses to justify their positions. These are also the very studies cited by politicians when justifying their position on the illegality of the plant.
This is nothing new…
These days “Pro Cannabis Studies” are getting some attention – in the past they got none. The slanted research on cannabis isn’t a problem that originated only 20-years ago, this is a problem that’s been brewing for far longer.
Since the illegality of cannabis, the government’s sole purpose was to justify their decision to outlaw marijuana. They have spent billions of dollars and in some case gassed monkeys to validate their policies in the attempts to say that cannabis was the culprit. It wasn’t.
The fact that the government still continues to attempt to find the harms of cannabis above everything else once more shows the disconnect between the people and the policies that govern us.
While it’s not bad to study the harms of cannabis – we should do it – but to spend half of the budget on that purpose seems like over kill. Perhaps, spending that money on how cannabis helps could provide new data to create new medicines that could end up saving millions.
But after all is said and done the government is not ruled by logic or reason – but by antiquated ideas being protected by the beneficiaries of those policies.
Not all is bad though…
While the US and the UK both continue to frame cannabis in a negative light – the Canadians, along with the Israelis are focusing on the health benefits of the plant. There are in fact many studies on these findings – most of the substantial ones coming out of Israel.
This is because Israel has been researching cannabis in a medical context for 60+ years. It were Israeli researchers that first synthesized THC, and also it were the Israelis along with a US researcher who discovered the Endocannabinoid system.
This is because they are framing the context of cannabis under the lens of “health” and not as an addiction or a drug.
Perhaps – if instead of spending nearly a billion dollars on proving how bad cannabis is for you – NIDA switches their objective and focus on how to make cannabis serve us more efficiently.
It’s time we stop using the same tactics we did in the past – let’s start reframing our objectives and fund studies that find out how cannabis can help us – not hurt us.