Colorado Dedicates $8M for Medical Marijuana Research to Understand Benefits

Colorado will spend more than $8 million researching marijuana’s medical potential – a new frontier because government-funded marijuana research traditionally focuses on the drug’s negative health effects. The grants awarded by the Colorado Board of Health will go to studies on whether marijuana helps treat epilepsy, brain tumors, Parkinson’s disease and post-traumatic stress disorder. Some of the studies still need federal approval. Though the awards are relatively small, researchers say they’re a big step forward. While several other federal studies currently in the works look at marijuana’s health effects, all the Colorado studies are focused on whether marijuana actually helps.

Among the projects poised for approval Wednesday:

– Two separate studies on using marijuana to treat post-traumatic stress disorder ($3.1 million)
– Whether adolescents and young adults with irritable bowel syndrome benefit from marijuana ($1.2 million)
– Using marijuana to relieve pain in children with brain tumors ($1 million)
– How an oil derived from marijuana plants affects pediatric epilepsy patients ($524,000)
– Comparing marijuana and oxycodone for pain relief ($472,000)

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In this February 7, 2014 file photo, Matt Figi hugs and tickles his once severely-ill seven year old daughter Charlotte, as they walk together inside a greenhouse for a special strain of medical marijuana known as Charlotte’s Web, which was named after the girl early in her treatment for crippling severe epilepsy, in the mountains west of Colorado Springs, Colo. Colorado is poised to award more than $8 million for medical marijuana research, a step toward addressing complaints that little is known about pot’s medical potential. Among the research projects poised for approval on Wednesday, December 17, 2014, are one for pediatric epilepsy patients, and another for children with brain tumors. (Photo by Brennan Linsley/AP Photo)

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In this April 29, 2014 file photo, Moriah Barnhart, gives her cancer suffering three year old daughter Dahlia cannabis oil treatment with an oral syringe, at her home in Colorado Springs. (Photo by Brennan Linsley/AP Photo)

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In this February 7, 2014 file photo, a worker cultivates a special strain of medical marijuana known as Charlotte’s Web inside a greenhouse, in a remote spot in the mountains west of Colorado Springs, Colo. (Photo by Brennan Linsley/AP Photo)

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In this April 29, 2014 file photo, Moriah Barnhart, a mother of a child with severe cancer, sits with her three year old daughter Dahlia, who receives legal medical marijuana extracts for treatment, at their home in Colorado Springs, Colo. (Photo by Brennan Linsley/AP Photo)

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In this February 7, 2014 file photo, a special strain of medical marijuana known as Charlotte’s Web grows inside a greenhouse, in a remote spot in the mountains west of Colorado Springs, Colo. (Photo by Brennan Linsley/AP Photo)

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In this April 29, 2014 file photo, an oral administration syringe loaded with high CBD hemp oil for treating a severely-ill child is shown at a private home in Colorado Springs, Colo. (Photo by Brennan Linsley/AP Photo)