Industry News & Updates

The National Institutes of Health Fund 9 New Studies on Cannabinoids

By Melena Gurganus

It’s no secret that CBD oil is a popular wellness supplement for a variety of ailments, but the current clinical research and scientific studies about this cannabis compound are still in their infancy. Yet despite the lack of support for anecdotal accounts that rave about the benefits of CBD, more people than ever are using these hemp-derived products—especially for pain management.

In order to build robust knowledge about the pain-relieving potential of minor cannabinoids and terpenes, the United States National Institutes of Health (NIH) will fund nine new research grants, costing approximately $3 million in total. These studies will be backed by the NIH’s National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), and will be the first CBD research to receive government funding.

The purpose of this new research is to investigate the therapeutic properties for a diverse pool of phytochemicals in cannabis, including cannabinoids (particularly CBD) and terpenes. These research initiatives will exclude THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the compound that creates a psychoactive high in marijuana users.

“THC may help relieve pain, but its value as an analgesic is limited by its psychoactive effects and abuse potential,” said the deputy director of NCCIH, David Shurtleff, Ph.D. The current medical landscape in cannabis research has been primarily focused on THC and medical marijuana, but these newly funded grants will hone in on cannabidiol, also known as CBD.

Dr. Shurtleff also noted, “These new projects will investigate substances from cannabis that don’t have THC’s disadvantages, looking at their basic biological activity and their potential mechanisms of action as pain relievers.”

In relation to pain management, the director of NCCIH, Helene Langevin, M.D., said, “The treatment of chronic pain has relied heavily on opioids, despite their potential for addiction and overdose and the fact that they often don’t work well when used on a long-term basis…there’s an urgent need for more effective and safer options.”

With that mindset, many people are looking to other beneficial cannabinoids that lie within cannabis plants, but have been drastically overlooked in previous scientific studies.

The nine research grants will review how cannabinoids can help an array of conditions or symptoms, such as:

  • Inflammation
  • Chronic pain
  • Neuropathic pain
  • Arthritis pain

Additionally, this research may strengthen the evidence regarding cannabis components and their analgesic (pain killing) benefits, which may bring more credibility to CBD and the hemp industry as a whole.

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