US Federal Drug Agency Funds Public Health Research on Cannabis

Federal Research Cannabis - GCI Content Hub - Global Cannabis Intelligence

US federal drug agency announces grant opportunities for scientists to research the national and global public health impacts of cannabis liberalisation.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is promoting opportunities for funded study into cannabis in light of the widespread reform happening in states across the country.

The federal agency published a notice in order to fund a number of outlined research proposals, with a specific focus on studies evaluating the spectrum of cannabis regulatory models currently in place in the US.

According to Marijuana Moment, this renewed request for research is a continuation of NIDA’s 2019 study solicitation which expired in January. The fresh filing is evidence of the agency’s commitment to fulfilling its research objectives in cannabis regulation research.

What research will NIDA fund?

In 2018, NIDA commissioned a workgroup from the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse (NACDA) to “identify cannabis policy research areas with the greatest urgency and potential impact” and address the “widening research gap.”

NIDA hopes the grants will encourage scientists to make applications to evaluate the impact of evolving cannabis laws on public health, both globally and at a national level.

The notice details that the accelerated rate at which the medical and recreational cannabis industries are currently evolving “far outpaces” the rate of research examining the consequences of these policy changes on public health.

Research objectives outlined in the notice include:

  • Developing standards for measuring cannabis constituents, dose, intoxication and/ or impairment
  • Exploring the impact of polysubstance use and drug interactions (of cannabis with alcohol, tobacco and opiates) on health outcomes
  • Investigating the composition, pattern of use and methods of administration of cannabis products
  • Determine the impact of local, state and federal cannabis regulation on cannabis use and health outcomes
  • Exploring the heterogeneity of regulatory schemes to understand which models minimise harm to public health

NIDA’s call for research into cannabis regulatory frameworks indicates the agency’s recognition that federal legalisation is now a realistic prospect.

Notwithstanding the invitation to research cannabis, critics continue to highlight how the plant’s Schedule 1 status means that studying cannabis is extremely cumbersome due to the rules and restrictions which scientists face.

In an attempt to ameliorate the administrative barriers to research, the Drug Enforcement Administration has taken steps to make Schedule 1 substances – like cannabis or psilocybin – more available for research purposes. These changes include increasing yearly production quotas of these compounds and ending the federal monopoly on cannabis manufacture.

To explore additional cannabis content, click here.

Previous articleUS Cannabis Legalisation Bill to be Filed in April
Next articleCannabis Sector in Canada Gives $43.5 Billion Boost to Country’s GDP