Tuesday, December 13, 2016

State issues $2.35 million in marijuana research grants

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has awarded $2.35 million in grant funding for seven research studies to address potential public health and safety impacts of marijuana use.

Research areas will include an assessment of driving impairment in occasional versus heavy marijuana users, the duration of marijuana in breast milk and the types of marijuana products associated with emergency department visits. Other studies will examine the effects of dabbing, marijuana use among older Coloradans, analysis of data comparing recreational marijuana use before and after legalization among college-aged students, and the short-term cardiovascular effects of marijuana use.

The state already has funded $9 million in medical marijuana research, and earlier this year, the General Assembly authorized the additional funding to study potential public health and safety impacts of legalized retail marijuana.

The approved projects are intended to continue to fill gaps in marijuana research, which historically was limited because recreational marijuana use was illegal. After voters approved legalized marijuana in 2012, the Retail Marijuana Public Health Advisory Committee was formed to monitor changes in drug use patterns, as well as the public health impacts of marijuana use.

“This research will be invaluable in Colorado and across the country,” said Dr. Larry Wolk, department executive director and chief medical officer. “The findings will inform our public education efforts and give people additional information they need to make decisions about marijuana use.”

The seven grants were awarded following scientific review and scoring of 16 full grant applications out of 58 preliminary applications initially received.

Two types of grants were awarded. Pilot grants will fund up to $100,000 per year for up to two years. Full research grants will provide up to $300,000 per year for up to three years.

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