Colorado Becomes the First State to Fund Medical Marijuana Research

Colorado Becomes the First State to Fund Medical Marijuana Research

By Rachel Blevins | Ben Swann

Medical Marijuana
Image credit: O’Dea at WikiCommons [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons
On Wednesday, the Colorado Board of Health awarded more than $8 million in research grants to its health officials for studies on the effects of medical marijuana in treating ailments such as brain tumors, epilepsy, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

According to the Associated Press, this line of research is a “new frontier,” due to the fact that “government-funded marijuana research traditionally focuses on the drug’s negative health effects.”

Colorado was one of the first two states to legalize cannabis for recreational use, and one of the 23 states and Washington D.C. to legalize it for medicinal use.

Dr. Suzanne Sisley, a Psychiatrist in Arizona, who will help conduct a study on how treatment with marijuana affects veterans with PTSD, pointed out that this step is a first for the U.S. Government.

This is the first time we’ve had government money to look at the efficacy of marijuana, not the harms of marijuana,” Sisley said.

Federally funded studies on the effects of medical marijuana have not been done previously, due to the fact that marijuana is still illegal under federal law. Reuters reported that the funding for Colorado’s research was “derived from taxes imposed on the state-regulated sale of medical marijuana.”


Related: Colorado Board of Health approves medical marijuana research grants

By John Ingold and Tom McGhee | The Denver Post

Colorado’s Board of Health on Wednesday approved up to $8.4 million of grants to pay for eight studies on medical marijuana, part of the largest-ever state-funded effort to study the medical efficacy of cannabis.

The studies will look at whether marijuana can be used to treat childhood epilepsy, post-traumatic stress disorder, Parkinson’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease, pediatric brain tumors and spine pain. University researchers will conduct all of the studies, meaning the results will provide some of the best — and most respected — evidence to date on whether marijuana is a useful medicine.

“This is new and uncharted territory,” Dr. Larry Wolk, executive director of the Colorado health department, said prior to the board’s unanimous vote to approve the funding.

Last year, the state legislature authorized the Colorado health department to spend $9 million on medical marijuana research, meaning there remains as much as $1 million that will be used to expand the already-approved studies or fund additional research. An additional $1 million will be used for the program’s administrative expenses.

Read more at The Denver Post

Video: Colorado becomes first state to fund research to show benefits of medical marijuana

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