Tags Research


Police probe of Brazilian marijuana researcher sparks protests

3/8/18--A police investigation targeting Brazil’s most prominent marijuana researcher Elisaldo Carlini, a retired professor of psychopharmacology at the Federal University of São Paulo (Unifesp), has ignited a wave of protest among scientists. They say that the move by authorities from the state of São Paulo threatens research freedoms at a time when science in the country faces severe problems because of draconian budget cuts. On March 1, researchers, students, and staff at Unifesp gathered on campus to express their support for Carlini and to protest against what they perceived to be an attack on the university. Read

FDA accepts GW Pharma’s NDA filing for Epidiolex in the treatment of LGS and Dravet syndrome

12/28/17--GW Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:GWPH) announces that the FDA has accepted for filing with Priority Review its recently submitted New Drug Application (NDA) for Epidiolex (cannabidiol or CBD), an investigational treatment for seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) and Dravet syndrome, two rare and difficult to treat conditions of childhood-onset epilepsy. The Prescription Drug User Fee Act goal date for completion of the FDA review of the Epidiolex NDA is June 27, 2018. Read

Marijuana may help HIV patients keep mental stamina longer

12/12/17--A chemical found in marijuana, known as tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, has been found to potentially slow the process in which mental decline can occur in up to 50 percent of HIV patients, says a new Michigan State University study. Read

Could marijuana prevent opioid deaths? Here’s what a UNT researcher says

12/10/17--According to Melvin Livingston, lead author of a recent study and an assistant professor at UNT Health Science Center, marijuana use may reduce opioid-related deaths. The study, published in October, indicated legal recreational marijuana use reduced opioid overdose deaths in Colorado by 6 percent during a two-year-period beginning in 2013. But researchers only had two years of data on legal recreational marijuana use to draw from. Read

Meet the ‘father of marijuana research’

12/8/17--Raphael Mechoulam started his first marijuana project by walking into a police station and asking for some confiscated weed—for research purposes. Decades later, the 87-year-old Israeli chemist is known widely as the “father of marijuana research,” after he used those 5 kilos to discover THC (marijuana’s psychoactive ingredient) in the 1960s, and then later discovered the structure of CBD. Read

Medical marijuana took a bite out of alcohol sales. Recreational pot could take an even bigger one.

12/1/17--Alcoholic beverage sales fell by 15 percent following the introduction of medical marijuana laws in a number of states, according to a new working paper by researchers at the University of Connecticut and Georgia State University. The study adds to a growing body of evidence showing that marijuana availability can reduce alcohol consumption. Read

Frequency of cannabis use tied to relationship between pain, mood disorders

11/29/17--Frequent cannabis users enrolled in a Medication-Assisted Treatment for opioid addiction exhibit greater associations between pain and negative affects (anxiety and depression) compared with less-frequent users, according to findings from a study published in Addictive Behaviors. Because this cross-sectional study relied on self-reported data for cannabis use frequency, the investigators note it does not establish a causal relationship between the frequency of cannabis use and the association between pain and negative affect. Read

Synthetic cannabis-like drug reduces sleep apnea

11/28/17--A synthetic cannabis-like drug in a pill was safe and effective in treating obstructive sleep apnea in the first large multi-site study of a drug for apnea funded by the National Institutes of Health. The study was conducted at Northwestern Medicine and the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Read

UNM Study: Medical marijuana an alternative for opioids

11/27/17--University of New Mexico researchers say the legal availability of medical marijuana has the potential to reduce opioid use among chronic pain patients. The results indicate a strong correlation between enrollment in New Mexico’s medical marijuana program and cessation or reduction of opioid use. Read

GW Pharma made an important move with its promising epilepsy treatment Epidiolex

11/6/17--GW Pharma's drug Epidiolex, a treatment that, in the company's words, "is a pharmaceutical formulation of purified cannabidiol (CBD), which is in development for the treatment of several rare childhood-onset epilepsy disorders," has completed its FDA New Drug Application to be marketed in the U.S. Additionally, it has been granted the FDA's rare pediatric-disease and orphan-drug designations, plus the potentially very helpful Fast Track designation. Read

The CannaVan helps marijuana researchers drive around some roadblocks

11/2/17--The CannaVan is a cutting-edge, marijuana research vehicle being used by researchers to drive around federal drug laws, while studying participants who are regular marijuana users. The interdisciplinary lab studies brain science, health, and addiction. In short, when the van shows up, the participants enter sober and run through a battery of tests. Then they go back into their homes, get as high as they want, and return to the van for the same tests. Read

UF researchers begin study on marijuana as opioid alternative

10/26/17--University of Florida Health doctors have begun a new study looking at the health effects of marijuana on people with HIV, including its potential as an alternative to addictive opioids. According to Dr. Robert Cook, the study’s lead investigator, the doctors will be monitoring the patients and their marijuana use. They will be exploring both negative and positive effects of using cannabis as medicine. Read

Researchers use a compound with a novel mechanism to treat pain in mice without tolerance or physical dependence

10/25/17--A pre-clinical study led by Indiana University scientists reports a promising step forward in the search for pain relief methods without the addictive side effects behind the country's current opioid addiction crisis. The research, which appears in the journal Biological Psychiatry, finds that the use of compounds called positive allosteric modulators, or PAMs, enhances the effect of pain-relief chemicals naturally produced by the body in response to stress or injury. Read

Recreational marijuana is saving lives in Colorado, study finds

10/16/17--Marijuana legalization in Colorado led to a “reversal” of opiate overdose deaths in that state with opioid-related deaths decreasing more than 6% in the following 2 years, according to new research published in the American Journal of Public Health. Authors Melvin D. Livingston, Tracey E. Barnett, Chris Delcher, and Alexander C. Wagenaar stress that their results are preliminary, given that their study encompasses only two years of data after the state’s first recreational marijuana shops opened in 2014. Read

Colorado officials skeptical about new study’s finding that legal marijuana reduced opioid deaths

10/16/17--Officials in Colorado are skeptical about a new study that found nearly one fewer person per month died of an opioid overdose in Colorado after the start of legal cannabis sales in 2014 compared to before. The Denver Post reports that the paper’s authors stop short of saying that legalization caused the reversal, instead saying that legalization was “associated” with a decline in opioid deaths. The authors also caution that the study looks only at a small sliver in time because legalization is still relatively new. Read

Hatch giggles his way forward on medical marijuana

9/16/17--Utah’s Sen. Orrin Hatch favors medical marijuana research, and he believes the administrative barriers need to be removed preventing legitimate research into medical marijuana, which is why he decided to roll out the Marijuana Effective Drug Study Act. Some complain that the bill Hatch favors is too little, too late. That, by emphasizing the need for research and regulatory rearrangment, the measure is not bold enough and could actually slow down progress toward allowing people in deep and immediate need to take advantage of the plant’s curative and palliative powers now. Read

Immune system linked to alcohol drinking behavior

9/15/17--In laboratory studies using mice, researchers have been able to switch off the impulse to drink alcohol by giving mice a drug that blocks a specific response from the immune system in the brain. This research is one of the first of its kind to show a link between the brain's immunity and the motivation to drink alcohol at night. Read

A tough job, but ASU will pay medical-marijuana consumers for new study

9/11/17--ASU researcher Madeline Meier, who has been on the forefront of medical-marijuana health research, confirmed that Arizona State University wants to study individuals who consume cannabis legally as Arizona medical-marijuana patients. However, what is unclear is exactly what the study is trying to determine, beyond the effects of different "types" of cannabis. Read

The Feds and the NFL forbid marijuana. Both are studying it as an alternative to opiods

8/24/17--Two new studies have been launched to determine how marijuana could possibly better treat pain. One study is from the federal government, which still lists marijuana as a Schedule I illegal drug, and the other is from the National Football League, which can still suspend players for marijuana use. A majority of Americans already think it should be legal for medicinal purposes, and 29 states already have legalized it, but federal law has kept the number of studies in this country limited. Read

Federal anti-drug official seeks Mass. medical marijuana data

8/25/17--Dale Quigley, deputy coordinator of the National Marijuana Initiative, or NMI, has asked Massachusetts health officials for data on the age, gender, and medical condition of the state’s approximately 40,000 registered medical marijuana patients. Quigley is a former police officer in Colorado with a long history of speaking out against legalization. Read

Department of Veterans Affairs’ PTSD, pot study called ‘worthless’

8/21/17--Researchers at the VA Portland Health Care System published two studies that reviewed previous analyses and evaluations of the effects of marijuana on treating chronic pain and PTSD. Cannabis advocates are criticizing the Department of Veterans Affairs for wasting time and resources on recently published research that produced inconclusive results on the effects of medical marijuana in treating pain and post-traumatic stress disorder. Read

Yet another study says weed could help solve the opioid crisis

8/21/17--According to a new study conducted by a Canadian researcher at the University of Victoria, “a compelling amount of evidence” indicates that marijuana could be used as an alternative to opioids, creating “significant positive impacts on public health and safety.” The study describes a “substitution effect” in states with medical marijuana, suggesting that people who want to quit using prescription opioids and other powerful pharmaceuticals have already started switching to cannabis. Read

Scientific community pushes back against V.A.’s latest “worthless” medical marijuana studies

8/22/17--Although recent studies from the Department of Veterans Affairs suggest that cannabis is ineffective in the treatment of PTSD and chronic pain, soldiers of the scientific community agree that this research is the same “worthless,” rehashed noise that the federal government has been trying to sell the general public for decades. Read

A government health agency is funding the first-ever study on medical marijuana’s impact on opioid abuse

8/12/17--The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is funding the first-ever, long-term study to research the impacts of medical marijuana on opioid use. The NIH has awarded a five-year, $3.8 million grant to researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Health System to study whether medical marijuana reduces opioid use among adults with chronic pain, including people with HIV. Read

Compound derived from marijuana interacts with antiepileptic drugs

8/7/17--New research suggests that an investigational neurological treatment derived from cannabis may alter the blood levels of commonly used antiepileptic drugs. Read

Compound derived from marijuana interacts with antiepileptic drugs

8/7/17--New research published in Epilepsia, a journal of the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE), suggests that an investigational neurological treatment derived from cannabis may alter the blood levels of commonly used antiepileptic drugs. Read

Why an anti-pot lawmaker is pushing for marijuana research

7/12/17--Rep. Andy Harris, M.D. is known as legal marijuana's greatest foe, but he also recognizes that the federal prohibition on all forms of marijuana has left the nation void of serious science on the plant that people are now legally smoking from coast to coast. So, he has teamed up with some of the more pro-pot lawmakers to push legislation that loosens the classification of weed so that universities, hospitals, and the private sector can study marijuana without fear of getting in trouble with the feds. Read

Both urgency and balance needed in addressing opioid epidemic

8/1/17--The ongoing opioid crisis is at the intersection of 2 substantial public health challenges: improving the treatment of pain and minimizing the harms that can arise from use of opioid medications. Recent Viewpoints in JAMA highlighted this tension. In one article, the authors emphasized that “there is no evidence that opioids are effective in chronic pain conditions and significant evidence that they cause harm.” In another article, the authors expressed dismay that federal policy has “disproportionately focused on reducing opioid use rather than increasing pain relief.” Read

Brain region that affects drug use habits

6/27/17--Researchers have identified a brain region involved in cocaine addiction. The findings could lead to targeted drugs or improved behavioral treatments for substance addiction, including opioid dependency. Read

Utah told scientists to study medical marijuana before they would legalize it

6/20/17--Utah lawmakers gave state colleges and other institutions a green light to study the medical impacts of the drug with the hope of having comprehensive data by next year. However, the studies would likely take years, requiring scientists to navigate layers of bureaucracy that can delay and even discourage research. The slowdown is due to marijuana being considered a Schedule I drug by the federal government. Read

Lehigh University looks to study cannabis effect on autistic children

6/17/17--Lehigh University intends to partner with one of the potential growers in the Lehigh Valley to study the effect of the drug on children with autism. While some parents of autistic children have preached the benefits of cannabis for years, Lehigh's Dean of Education Gary Sasso confirmed that the university wants to collect some of the first quantitative data on the controversial drug therapy. Pennsylvania is one of the few states that specifically allows children with autism to be treated with cannabis. Read

Hurdles expected for Utah’s medical marijuana research law

6/14/17--Utah lawmakers balked again this year about passing a broad medical marijuana law. Instead, they gave state colleges and other institutions a green light to study the medical impacts of the drug with the hope of having comprehensive data by next year. However, studies would likely take years, requiring scientists to navigate layers of bureaucracy that can delay and even discourage research. Read

Cannabidiol reduces seizures in children with severe epilepsy

5/26/17--Results from a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial published in The New England Journal of Medicine revealed that children with Dravet syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy, had fewer seizures after taking a daily oral solution of cannabidiol, which does not have the psychoactive properties of marijuana. Over a 14-week treatment with cannabidiol, convulsive seizures dropped from a monthly average of 12.4 to 5.9, and during the study seizures stopped completely in 5 percent of patients taking cannabidiol. Read

Noted experts critically evaluate benefits of medical marijuana for treatment of epilepsy

5/24/17--The editors of Epilepsy & Behavior have produced a special issue that presents an in-depth assessment of the potential of cannabinoids for the effective treatment of epilepsy. Guest editors Jerzy Szaflarski, MD, PhD, Director of the Epilepsy Center, University of Alabama at Birmingham, and Orrin Devinsky, MD, Director, Epilepsy Center, New York University Langone Medical Center hope these articles help stimulate greater understanding and more studies to scientifically define the potential benefits and harms of cannabis-based therapies for epilepsy. Read

Volunteers needed to smoke pot for science

5/19/17--Researchers at Washington State University need volunteers for a study to develop a breathalyzer for pot. If successful, the study could aid in the development of a field procedure for the detection of the presence of THC, the active ingredient in cannabis, and eventually help prevent vehicle accidents or deaths due to drug-impaired driving. The study is sponsored by the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services. It will be conducted in conjunction with the Pullman Police Department. Read

US firm moves forward on cannabis gum for patients with multiple sclerosis

5/9/17--British biotechnology firm Quay Pharmaceuticals Ltd. and its American partner Axim Biotechnologies Inc. have received permission from British regulators to pursue a cannabis-based treatment for patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). Axim has been working to develop its cannabis-based MedChew Rx pharmaceutical chewing gum into a drug to treat pain and spasticity in MS patients. The gum is a formulation of 5 mg of cannabidiol and 5 mg of tetrahydrocannabidiol. The company believes the cannabis gum could have multiple indications, but for now they are focused on multiple sclerosis. Read

Johns Hopkins pulls out of marijuana PTSD study

3/31/17--Eighteen months after joining a study on using marijuana to treat post-traumatic stress disorder, Johns Hopkins University has pulled out without enrolling any veterans. A Johns Hopkins spokeswoman said the university’s goals were no longer aligned with those of the administrator of the study, the Santa Cruz-based Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). A spokesman for MAPS said the dispute was over whether to openly challenge policy that say medical cannabis research must rely on federally-grown marijuana. Read

Chili peppers, marijuana may reduce gut inflammation

4/25/17--Researchers have found that chili peppers and marijuana may reduce gut inflammation. Capsaicin - the compound that gives chili peppers their heat - targets a receptor in the gut that produces a compound called anandamide, which is chemically similar to the compounds in marijuana. Read

The holy land of medical marijuana

4/11/17--As countries wrestle with the legal status of marijuana, Israel is carving a place for medical cannabis research, partly fueled by the world's highest percentage of financial resources devoted to research. It was among the first countries to legalize medical marijuana, while remaining illegal for recreational use, and is one of just three countries with a government-sponsored cannabis program. Read

The DEA just gave a big boost to a cannabis-based seizure drug

4/4/17--A growing body of research suggests that cannabidiol (CBD) can reduce seizures in individuals with epileptic disorders, reducing the damage caused by these diseases as well as improving quality of life. The DEA is creating a separate classification for scheduling cannabis extracts, and specifically mentioned CBD as a potential example. The resulting legal framework would seem to allow CBD-derived medications to move to a less restrictive schedule while leaving marijuana on Schedule I. Read

Israel’s medical marijuana pioneers look to cash in on $20bn market

4/3/17--Israeli researchers are aiming to corner the rapidly burgeoning new global market in medical marijuana. Their goal is not simply to take part in a hugely lucrative market, but to transform the medical marijuana industry into a serious endeavour of pharmaceutical research, producing new strains and drugs able to alleviate the symptoms of of cancer, Parkinson’s disease, insomnia, and other conditions. Read

A pharma company just got DEA approval for synthetic marijuana

3/24/17--Insys Therapeutics, a pharmaceutical company that was one of the chief financial backers of the opposition to marijuana legalization in Arizona last year, received preliminary approval from the Drug Enforcement Administration this week for Syndros, a synthetic marijuana drug, to treat nausea, vomiting, and weight loss in cancer and AIDS patients. Read

Marijuana’s biggest enemy is not Jeff Sessions–It’s Big Pharma

3/29/17--As marijuana gains footing as a treatment for chronic and neuropathic pain, legalization's biggest villain is, perhaps, the pharmaceutical industry, according to an Esquire article by Ricardo Baca. Recent news could indicate a tipping point in Big Pharma's quest to squash voter-approved pot-legalizing initiatives while preserving the medical marijuana market for its own products. Read

The grandfather of marijuana research has never smoked a joint

3/29/17--Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, the man considered the world’s foremost marijuana researcher, began studying cannabis scientifically in the 1960s. Mechoulam is now a professor at Hebrew University in Jerusalem and an advisor to the Israeli government’s medical marijuana program. He has never smoked marijuana but he’s been deeply curious about cannabis for nearly his whole professional life. Read

Utah governor signs medical marijuana research bill

3/27/17--Utah Gov. Gary Herbert has signed off on a bill that allows research into the risks and benefits of medical marijuana. The proposal from Republican Rep. Brad Daw of Orem has been endorsed by the Utah Medical Association, which says more study needs to be done on the drug before the state approves its broader use as a medicine. Read

Lawmakers support medical marijuana research

3/15/17--A House budget panel Tuesday approved a proposal that would send $2.462 million to the University of Florida for research about issues such as the effectiveness of medical marijuana in treating patients. Rep. Dane Eagle, R-Cape Coral, sponsored the proposal (HB 3159), and his budget request said the law requires physicians to submit information about patient treatment plans, and the proposed money would carry out research on the "efficacy and safety" of the cannabis on patients. Read

Good science on marijuana is so hard to find

3/15/17--According to a published editorial by The Washington Post contributor Robert Gebelhoff, conducting a randomized controlled trial on marijuana use is essentially impossible. Therefore, scientists must rely heavily on self-reporting from patients, making it extremely difficult to know how much, how often, or through what means subjects use marijuana — let alone what type of chemicals they’re ingesting alongside the drug. Regardless of the outcome of any marijuana study, scientists who tackle the issue do so knowing they will probably receive criticism. Read

Oxford University receives $12.3M to study medical marijuana

3/16/17--One of the world’s top research universities, Oxford University, has received 10 million pounds ($12.3 million) from a London-based private equity firm to study the medical benefits of marijuana, a move that could lead to more acceptance of MMJ as a medicinal therapy worldwide. According to a news release, Oxford will use the money to identify state-of-the-art medical therapy by researching the “molecular, cellular, and system mechanisms of cannabinoids.” Read

Vancouver pharma startup cuts up cannabis for curative compounds

3/5/17--InMed Pharmaceuticals aims to use the more than 100 different “cannabinoids” as the raw materials for a number of clinical applications. The Vancouver-based pharmaceutical startup is taking the cannabis plant apart to find compounds that could treat disorders ranging from glaucoma to a rare skin disorder. Read

Here’s why this marijuana stock jumped 15% this week

2/17/17--Insys Therapeutics' (NASDAQ:INSY) share price climbed 15% this week after management provided a limited update on its progress developing medicine made using marijuana's chemical cannabinoid, cannabidiol (CBD). The update on the company's CBD program doesn't provide a lot of details for investors to digest, but it does suggest that Insys Therapeutics hasn't abandoned programs to develop CBD for epilepsy and, possibly, other indications. Read

First marijuana testing for vets with PTSD underway in Phoenix

2/10/17--The first-ever clinical study of smoked cannabis for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder took place in Phoenix this week, making medical-marijuana history. The California-based Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) is conducting the study with the help of a $2.16 million grant from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Read

Cannabis for epilepsy: is there enough evidence of efficacy?

1/10/17--Some parents of children with treatment-resistant epilepsy are turning to cannabis to try to reduce seizure frequency. With clinical trials of cannabidiol-based drugs under way, evidence for this treatment option may soon be forthcoming. However, even as CBD’s effectiveness may soon be established in rigorous clinical trials, experts see it as one of many new additions to the arsenal of epilepsy medicines, rather than a panacea. Read

Can marijuana treat MS symptoms?

1/17/17--An estimated 400,000 Americans are currently living with multiple sclerosis, and available therapies do not sufficiently relieve MS symptoms. As a result, many people with the condition are trying alternative therapies, like cannabis. Based on several studies, the American Association of Neurology states that there is strong evidence that cannabis is effective for treatment of pain and spasticity, common symptoms associated with multiple sclerosis. Read

Colorado grants $2.3 million for marijuana health and safety research

1/10/17--The state of Colorado has approved the funding of a half dozen research grants into marijuana. All the studies aim to address questions about public health and safety revolving around legalization of cannabis in the state. A total of $2.3 million will go to seven projects. Read

The Arthritis Society funds more medical cannabis research

screen-shot-2017-01-10-at-12-03-57-am12/19/16--The Arthritis Society is doing its part to help fill some of the critical knowledge gaps around medical cannabis by funding two medical cannabis research project in the past 18 months. The latest clinical trial to be lead by McGill University’s Dr. Mark Ware will study the use of oral cannabinoids for fibromyalgia pain. Read

GW announces New Epidiolex® (CBD) positive Phase 3 data

screen-shot-2016-12-27-at-8-42-09-am12/5/16--GW Pharmaceuticals, a biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering, developing, and commercializing novel therapeutics from its proprietary cannabinoid product platform, announced additional positive Epidiolex® (cannabidiol or CBD) Phase 3 data in poster presentations at the 70th Annual Meeting of the American Epilepsy Society. Read

Chronic pain treatment without opioid or medical marijuana side effects

tmr_image-block11/15/16--Neuroscientists have found evidence that the brain’s cannabis receptors may be used to treat chronic pain without the side effects associated with opioid-based pain relievers or medical marijuana. Read

New study suggests cannabis could help ease the opioid epidemic

tmr_image-block11/25/16--A new study suggests that cannabis could help ease the deadly opioid epidemic in the United States. Participants reported “a notable decrease in their use of conventional pharmaceutical agents, ” including a 42-percent drop in the use of opiates, according to the pilot study. The study also suggested that the cognitive function of some medical marijuana users improved over a three-month period. However, the authors warn that the study’s sample size was too small to be considered conclusive. Read

Marijuana-like drugs may offer addiction-free pain relief

screen-shot-2016-11-29-at-9-38-28-am11/17/16--Researchers in recent years have attempted to create drug compounds that can target pain receptors in the brain, but not affect opioid receptors, the source for opioid addiction. Now, two independent teams of researchers have developed drugs similar to marijuana that show evidence of providing pain relief in laboratory animals, but have no apparent addictive properties and do not cause a "high" that impairs motor function. Read

Highest-resolution model to date of brain receptor behind marijuana’s high

screen-shot-2016-11-27-at-10-41-49-pm11/16/16--Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center report the most detailed 3-D structure to date of the brain receptor that binds and responds to the chemical at the root of marijuana’s high. Their high-resolution structure of the human cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) and its binding site for the chemical tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) should lead to a better understanding of how marijuana affects the brain. Read