Children with seizures, veterans suffering PTSD likely subjects for $7.6 million in marijuana research

By Katie Kerwin McCrimmon

Researchers will soon begin studying how medical marijuana affects children with epilepsy, veterans, people with Parkinson’s and others after Colorado’s Medical Marijuana Scientific Advisory Council recommended funding eight research projects that will cost about $7.6 million.

Medical Marijuana photo

If approved by Colorado’s Board of Health on December 17, the two- and three-year studies could begin in 2015.

Colorado health officials received 57 proposals to study the impact of medical marijuana on patients. Of the recommended proposals, six involve researchers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. A researcher at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School is tied to two others, one of which was proposed by researchers at the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies in Santa Cruz, Calif.

The research will be funded from fees that people have paid to get medical marijuana cards in Colorado.

Colorado health officials have been eager to learn whether the scores of families flocking to the state to use marijuana derivatives to help calm seizures in children are truly benefiting. Medical marijuana patients are eager to have more conditions added to the list of illnesses that patients can cite when seeking to get medical marijuana. Health officials want to know if marijuana before they add more conditions to the list.

Altogether, Colorado’s legislature set aside $10 million for the research program, with $1 million going to research management. The scientific advisory council chose to recommend funding less than the $9 million available.

“Colorado is leading the way in devoting significant resources to study medical marijuana,” Dr. Larry Wolk, executive director and chief medical officer at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, said in a written statement. “We hope the studies will contribute to the scientific research available about the use of marijuana in effectively treating various medical conditions.”

Colorado’s Board of Health can approve or veto the grant proposals submitted by the council. In the event of unallocated research funding, the board may direct the department and the advisory council regarding funding of additional research that meets grant requirements.

The selected projects include:

  • Two studies on the effects of cannabidiol for pediatric epilepsy
  • Two studies on the use of marijuana in treating people with PTSD
  • A study of marijuana use for adolescents with Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • A study of cannabis for people with Parkinson’s who have tremors
  • The use of medical marijuana for palliative care for children with brain tumors
  • A study comparing the effects of marijuana vs. oxycodone for pain

For a complete list of the recommended research projects, click here.


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