The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has awarded $2.7 million in grant funding for two research studies to investigate the potential therapeutic uses of marijuana.
Both research studies are random controlled trials, the type of research considered to be the “gold standard” in the scientific community. One study will research marijuana as a treatment for chronic spine pain and will evaluate its use as a therapy to reduce prescription opioid use. The other will research the efficacy and safety of cannabidiol (CBD) to treat children with autism spectrum disorder.
The state already has funded $9 million in medical marijuana research grants and an additional $2.35 million in grants for seven marijuana public health research studies. Earlier this year, the General Assembly authorized the department’s Medical Marijuana Research Grant Program to fund and oversee a new round of medical marijuana research grants through June 2023. In an executive order, Gov. John Hickenlooper directed the department to prioritize fiscal resources to research the use of medical marijuana by patients experiencing autism spectrum disorder. In addition, the reduction or elimination of long-term opioid use for chronic pain has been an ongoing priority for the department, and important questions remain about whether marijuana can be an effective substitute for opioids.
The grants were awarded following scientific review and scoring of 13 preliminary applications that were received. Each study will be awarded $1,350,000 to fund the research over three years. The approved grants are:
Approved medical marijuana research grants