On Wednesday, the Colorado Board of Health announced it was allocating $8 million towards studies that will examine the impact of marijuana on epilepsy, brain tumors, Parkinson’s disease and post-traumatic stress disorder. The funds are coming entirely from taxes and fees imposed on marijuana sales.
“This is the first time we’ve had government money to look at the efficacy of marijuana, not the harms of marijuana,” said Dr. Suzanne Sisley, a psychiatrist who was awarded funding to study the impacts of marijuana on veterans suffering from PTSD.
Among the projects approved on Wednesday:
- Two studies evaluating the use of marijuana to treat post-traumatic stress disorder ($3.1 million)
- A study analyzing whether adolescents with irritable bowel syndrome benefit from marijuana ($1.2 million)
- Analyzing the impact of marijuana in relieving pain in children with brain tumors ($1 million)
- A study on how oils derived from marijuana affects pediatric epilepsy patients ($524,000)
- A comparison of marijuana and oxycodone for pain relief ($472,000)
The majority of the studies still need approval from the Food and Drug Administration, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which is not guaranteed. As Sanjay Gupta wrote in an op-ed last year, the NIDA, “is an organization that has a core mission of studying drug abuse, as opposed to benefit.”
One thing’s for certain though: unbiased research analyzing the heath impacts of marijuana will make tremendous headway in improving our understanding of the plant and reducing the social stigma associated with consumption.