Published on December 25th, 2014 | by News Feed
Colorado Approves Over $8 Million For Medical Marijuana Research
For the first time ever, government money will be used to support medical marijuana research. It was a historic moment this week when Colorado granted more than $8 million to further study how marijuana could impact devastating health conditions like brain tumors, post-traumatic stress disorder, epilepsy, and Parkinson’s disease.
While it’s still in the early stages, the grants are evidence that we are officially moving into a new frontier for medical marijuana in the United States. The initial studies will likely throw open the floodgates and more researchers will take interest and further studies will follow closely behind.
Dr. Suzanne Sisley, a psychiatrist in Arizona, is thrilled to see government funds going to learn about the positive impacts of weed for patients. “This is the first time we’ve had government money to look at the efficacy of marijuana, not the harms of marijuana,” she explained. Sisley plans to pioneer a new study to investigate how marijuana could help veterans suffering from PTSD.
Dr. Larry Wolk, Colorado’s Chief Medical Officer, said the research is desperately needed because doctors need more specific information to better guide their patients. “There’s nowhere else in medicine where we give a patient some seeds and say, ‘Go grow this and process it and figure out how much you need,’” Wolk said. “We need research dollars we can answer more questions.”
Money for the grants will come from Colorado’s medical marijuana patient fees. The program received 57 applications from interested researchers, but the advisory board chose eight proposals to sponsor for this first round of grants. The studies will cost an estimated $7.6 million, but the board approved grants totaling $8.4 million in case researchers exceeded their budget proposals as is oftentimes the case.
There are currently 117,000 people registered in Colorado’s medical marijuana registry. Each individual must pay $15 per year to stay on the state list. By using the money collected from the registry for research, Colorado will move towards better treatment for these patients. Hopefully, this will open the door for other states to begin funding medical marijuana research as well.