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After COVID halts, CU’s marijuana research needs additional year of funding

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A prolonged gap during the pandemic has spoiled the state’s medical marijuana research grant program, according to professors at University of Colorado College of Medicine.

Founded in 2014 by the state legislature, The Medical Marijuana Scientific Advisory Board of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment It issues a few grants for medical marijuana research every few years, with the CU School of Medicine receiving the majority of the funds so far.

However, two CU studies that have been put on hold during the pandemic lockdown at the Anschutz campus are on strict funding schedules that must be updated before they can be completed, according to CU professors.

One study looks at the effectiveness of CBD therapy on the aggressiveness and irritability associated with autism spectrum disorder, while the other focuses on medical marijuana treatment for acute pain and its ability to help reduce opioid use among high-dose users. Both clinical trials were originally set to receive funding through 2023 but were forced to close in 2020. That was the same year that deaths from opioid overdose rose statewide by 54 percent, to more than 1,000, according to For Dr. Emily Lindley, UCSD Professor of Medicine and Principal Investigator for both studies.

She said: “The goal of these FDA-regulated trials we are leading is to determine whether an oral cannabis-based treatment is able to elevate chronic back and neck pain and help patients taking high doses of opioids successfully reduce their opioid intake. ” during the May 3 session.

Lindley says the acute pain and opioid research at CU School of Medicine is “the first clinical trial to provide high-quality evidence” about whether medical marijuana is an alternative to opioids, but that effort has faced a number of hurdles since the pandemic began.

On top of temporarily closing her facility, the supply of federally approved cannabis for her research has also been suspended. Both the acute pain and autism studies are ready to start over, but if funding is not extended for another year, Lindley and her team will not have time to recruit the appropriate number of participants, she warned lawmakers.

a Bill from Representative Eddie Houghton and Senator Don Corram Scholarships will be extended for an additional year until studies can be completed. According to Hutton, the extension would not cost the state any more money; It will turn into nearly $100,000 unspent during the pandemic pause and reallocate to pending studies.

“It does not create new spending. [The bill] Simply expands CDPHE’s existing authority to fund an additional year of research for these two programs. “Without this extension, the health research account will dissolve before the grant research is complete,” Hutton said during the hearing.

The bill has already been approved by the Senate and passed its first House vote with the Committee on Public Health, Behavioral and Human Services on May 3. It is now up for a final vote in the House of Representatives.

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