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The Colorado State Board of Health will be awarding 8 million dollars in grants to studies focused on marijuana in the treatment of brain tumors, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, and PTSD. Eight million dollars may seem like a substantial amount of money, but is actually quite small when it comes to medical research.

Due to federal prohibition of cannabis, the University of Mississippi is actually the only federally approved research facility. Federal approval marijuana research requires the FDA, DEA, and National Institute of Drug Abuse all to sign off, which is no easy accomplishment. Colorado’s grants are state based, which means that they can dive in to research quickly without trudging through difficult federal approval processes and fighting red tape.

Dr. Larry Wolk is Colorado’s Chief Medical Officer. He says that the lack of research on medical marijuana is slowing down our understanding of the drug’s efficacy for various medical conditions. Wolk says, “There’s nowhere else in medicine where we give a patient some seeds and say, ‘Go grow this and process it and then figure out how much you need.’ ” That’s why the meager 8 million dollars means a lot for medical marijuana patients.

These are some of the studies that are being considered by the Colorado Board of Health:

$3.1 million – Two studies using marijuana to treat post-traumatic stress disorder

$1.2 million – A study focus on marijuana in the treatment irritable bowel syndrome in youth

$1 million – A study focused marijuana for pain relief in children with brain tumors

$524,000 – A study on the efficacy of marijuana in the treatment of children with epileptic conditions

$472,000 – A study that compares marijuana to opiates for pain relief

These studies are the top contenders to receive money for medical marijuana research. In total, Colorado received 57 applications vying access to the total authorized $8.4 million dollars.

Photo Credit: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

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