CBD research studies to examine the levels of pain relief from the marijuana derivative, which is currently allowed medicinally in 30 states
Nine research grants announced this week by the U.S. government will inject $3 million into CBD research to find out the extent of the marijuana derivative’s pain-relieving properties.
THC research was excluded as the U.S. federal government still considers marijuana an illegal drug while more than 30 states allow its use for a range of medical uses.
“The science is lagging behind the public use and interest. We’re doing our best to catch up here,” said Dr. David Shurtleff, deputy director of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, which is funding the projects, speaking to the AP.
CBD has taken off in popularity with consumers, even while many consider CBD consumer products the “Wild West” due to its unregulated nature and sometime spurious claims. Little research exists on CBD and its pain-relieving properties.
Dr. Judith Hellman, a grant recipient from University of California, San Francisco, said scientists need to better understand pain and to find more ways to treat it. “It’s very exciting to have the opportunity to do that,” she told the AP.
Human test subjects will be involved in only one of the grant projects, where University of Utah researcher Deborah Yurgelun-Todd will use brain scans with patients experiencing lower-back pain to see how CBD affects the brain and pain pathways.
More human studies may reportedly be funded in a second round of grants.
The feds are now also growing their own product. The National Institute on Drug Abuse in July said it will grow roughly 4,500 lbs. of marijuana at the University of Mississippi for research.
Also this week Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell (R), a chief proponent of a hemp legalization provision in the 2018 Farm Bill, asked the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to fast-track the lawful use of CBD from hemp in consumer goods including food items and dietary products. The FDA had previously stated that allowing CBD to be sold in food items could take years to approve without congressional action.
McConnell urged the FDA to come to terms with CBD and a path for lawful marketing of products by January 2020.