Cannabis May Qualify for Study Grants as’Natural Merchandise’

Cannabis May Qualify for Study Grants as ‘Natural Product’

Federally financed research into marijuana seems to be escalating, with one government agency recently posting a roundup of current “cannabinoid-related funding opportunities” for studies exploring the plant’s curative potential.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) on Dec. 8, 2018, shared a list of four research grant opportunities for studies on “natural goods ” such as cannabis. One would examine how cannabinoids other than THC influence pain and others call for broader clinical trials of natural products involving human participants.

The list seems to have been prepared as part of an NCCIH-hosted workshop in early December 2018 that explored “how to conduct research over the present regulatory framework” — an event that was explicitly not about “challenging or changing current national legislation, policies or regulations.

NCCIH “supports rigorous scientific investigation of natural products like the cannabis plant and its elements (e.g., cannabinoids and terpenes),” the agency wrote.

The goals of the proposed research projects range from identifying the “biological signature” of natural products, which means discovering a replicable biological impact, to determining the ideal dose and optimum formulation of these products. Researchers interested in taking on the investigations need to submit applications with comprehensive plans for the trials and obtain clearance from federal agencies charged with regulating controlled substances like the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

Interestingly, three out of four of the studies highlighted by NCCIH don’t explicitly mention marijuana or cannabinoids; rather, they broadly pay natural products, which seems to imply that the agency intends to boost cannabis research through preexisting funding channels.

While the federal government has historically funded limited studies into marijuana and its components, scientists have struggled to overcome barriers to research that exist for federally banned substances. As more states have legalized cannabis, though, agencies like the NCCIH have started ramping up their calls for study .

At exactly the same time, the DEA has said that it’s streamlining applications for federally sanctioned marijuana cultivators so as to fulfill the rising demand for research-grade cannabis products. It approved 5,400 pounds of cannabis to be grown in 2019 — over five times the amount authorized for 2018. The main reason for the scaling up is “based solely on improved usage projections for federally approved research projects,” the agency clarified in a Federal Register notice Dec. 10, 2018.

This guide was republished from Marijuana Moment below a content syndication agreement.

Posted in: News

Comments are closed.