The U.S. government has announced $3 million in research grants to study whether CBD and other chemicals in the cannabis plant can relieve pain, although THC research is excluded, according to an NBC News report.
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is funding the grants, which, according to an NCCIH press release have been awarded to the following studies:
- Mechanism and Optimization of CBD-Mediated Analgesic Effects, led by Boston Children’s Hospital’s Zhigang He, Ph.D., B.M., and Juan Hong Wang, Ph.D.;
- Neuroimmune Mechanisms of Minor Cannabinoids in Inflammatory and Neuropathic Pain, led by University of California’s Judith Hellman, M.D., and Mark A. Schumacher, M.D., Ph.D.;]Minor Cannabinoids and Terpenes: Preclinical Evaluation as Analgesics, led by Research Triangle Institute’s Jenny L. Wiley, Ph.D.;
- Identifying the Mechanisms of Action for CBD on Chronic Arthritis Pain, led by New York University School of Medicine’s Yu-Shin Ding, Ph.D.;
- Synthetic Biology for the Chemogenetic Manipulation of Pain Pathways, led by University of Texas’s Andrew Ellington, Ph.D.;
- Exploring the Mechanisms Underlying the Analgesic Effect of Cannabidiol Using Proton Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy, led by University of Utah’s Deborah A. Yurgelun-Todd, Ph.D.;
- Mechanistic Studies of Analgesic Effects of Terpene Enriched Extracts from Hops, led by Emory University’s Cassandra L. Quave, Ph.D.;
- Systematic Investigation of Rare Cannabinoids With Pain Receptors, led by University of Illinois’ David Sarlah, Ph.D.; and
- Analgesic efficacy of single and combined minor cannabinoids and terpenes, led by Temple University’s Sara J. Ward, Ph.D.
Chronic pain is the most common reason that patients enroll in state-approved medical cannabis programs, NBC News reported, but research is lacking when it comes to which of the plant’s specific chemical compounds are effective in pain relief.
The country’s opioid addiction crisis has also sparked scientific interest in cannabis’s pain-relieving properties, and is another driving factor behind the research grants, according to NBC News.