University of Utah Health announced that it has been awarded a $750,000 grant to study medical cannabis. More specifically, the research will focus on the personalized effects of the active compounds found in cannabis – also called cannabinoids – through the use of advanced brain imaging technology.
The study grant was awarded by the Ray and Tye Noorda Foundation and was given in partnership with the Wholistic Research and Education Foundation.
With the new grant, the university’s researchers now have the chance to forge ahead in this particular area of study. The funding will also enable researchers to look into how cannabinoids influence the brain networks, as well as why cannabinoids affect people differently.
The study, which is expected to run for two years, will involve 40 healthy young adults. It will be conducted by a team of researchers with expertise in neuropsychology, neuroimaging, imaging physics, biostatistics, and psychiatry.
The research team will use advances in medical imaging to be able to compare how the human brain reacts to a placebo against how it reacts to cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Both cannabinoids are known for a wide range of medical benefits, but THC is a psychoactive component that creates high while CBD is not.
Though 29 states in the country already currently allow the use of cannabis for medical purposes, there are still “critical questions” that remain unanswered with regard to the drug, the University of Utah’s announcement about the research had pointed out.
According to Jon-Kar Zubieta, a psychiatrist and one of the researchers for the study, one of the biggest medical questions about cannabis is which particular brain receptors interact with cannabinoids and which mechanisms in the brain are at work, dictating how the drug affects pain, anxiety, and mood
Noorda Foundation also awards research funding to UC San Diego
Just yesterday, CannabizDaily has reported about the Ray and Tye Noorda Foundation awarding $4.7 million to the UC San Diego Center for Medical Cannabis Research to study the potential of CBD as a treatment for the severe symptoms of autism. This donation to the UC San Diego is considered to be the largest private donation ever given for medical cannabis research in the U.S.
Medical cannabis in Utah
This major cannabis research project comes as Utah expects a medical cannabis ballot initiative to land on the ballot this November.
CannabizDaily has reported earlier that the Utah Patients Coalition is gathering the needed number of signatures from across the state in order to get medical cannabis on the November 2018 ballot.
Also, very recently, Utah Governor Gary Herbert had signed five cannabis-related legislative measures, including one that would allow approved farmers to grow cannabis plants for medical purposes next year. The catch, though, is that this medical cannabis to be grown by approved farmers can only be used by researchers and by terminally ill patients.
Another new legislative measure, called the “right to try” law, allows a terminally ill patient to access medical cannabis only after he or she has secured a doctor’s note saying that the patient has only six months – or less – to live.
The third measure allows for state-licensed companies to cultivate and sell industrial hemp. The fourth allows for the state to monitor the safety of cannabis extract oils. And the fifth measure provides funding for a state board staffer to review research on CBD. This particular measure allows the board to review research on cannabis from other parts of the world.
It can be recalled that in March 2014, Utah legalized CBD oil for the treatment of severe epilepsy. Because of this, Utah became the first state in the country to legalize CBD oil without legalizing any other form of cannabis.