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It’s good news for cannabis, and this time its’s federal, as The National Institutes of Health (NIH,) recently gave a five-year, $3.8 million grant to research cannabis’ effects on opioid addiction

Researching cannabis has been an issue for decades now, as it is still classified on a federal level as a ‘Schedule 1,’ akin to cocaine and heroin. The fact that a federal grant has been approved, marks a first for medical cannabis research in North America.

The grant, awarded to scientists at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Health System, will look at the possibility of medical cannabis being used to wean opioid addicts off of their dangerous medication, in favor of cannabis. One of the main differences being that the study will use real medical-grade cannabis from licensed dispensaries in New York State, and not the low quality ‘research grade’ product.

Chinazo Cunningham, associate chief of general internal medicine at Einstein and Montefiore and principal investigator on the grant, said in a media release, “There is a lack of information about the impact of medical marijuana on opioid use in those with chronic pain. We hope this study will fill in the gaps and provide doctors and patients with some much needed guidance.”

The study intends to look at subjects over an 18 month period, having them answer detailed questionnaires every two weeks, which will focus on their pain levels and how their medical cannabis might help them. As well as the questions, participants will need to provide urine and blood samples at in-person research visits every three months.

This new study is exciting, not least because it shows the feds are on their way to understanding and accepting that cannabis could just be the natural remedy they have been looking for to curtail the extremely dangerous opioid epedemic sweeping North America at the moment.

[Image credit- Flickr]

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