Government Commissions Landmark Pot Study
Huge news, dreamers! You may have missed a recent announcement that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is commissioning a 5 year medical marijuana study to see if they can reduce the use of opioids in those with long term pain. At a cost of 3.8 million dollars, the feds are going to allow a medical college (Albert Einstein College of Medicine) and a major healthcare provider (Montefiore Health System) to research and test marijuana in chronic pain patients for the first time.
Ok, so what’s the big deal, again?
The big deal is the sudden sea change by our government. A year ago the Feds were serious haters. The DEA stated marijuana had no medical use and it was not safe even under medical supervision. Now the feds are exploring marijuana as an alternative to painkiller abuse. Even better, the study will be commissioned with medical grade cannabis from licensed dispensaries in New York. This is much better than the trash weed the government normally uses for its studies. This will be the first study done by our government into the effects of CBD and THC on pain and quality of life. Also, it will be the first study of its kind to see if medical marijuana can replace or reduce opioid use. The study will have a sample size of 500 people (250 HIV-positive and 250 HIV-negative), all of which are currently in a chronic pain program.
This study represents substantial progress in the prohibition of marijuana. As we have said before, the draconian stance on pot before has done irrefutable harm to many lives. It has also limited our liberty, and prevented people from getting a medicine that may be better and cheaper than many of its alternatives. Finally, our government is recognizing the medicinal potential for cannabis in a sudden and abrupt sea change. Simultaneously, it is also recognizing the value of proper agricultural techniques when it comes to the cultivation of cannabis. The government’s only weed farm was a substantial hurdle to discovering much of anything except for what not to do.[i]
Will this study be part of a trend? Will this study lead to further research? Is federal recognition of medical cannabis coming? Will we see an end to the cannabis prohibition soon? Time will give us the answers to these questions. But, the fact that the feds are even willing to commission such a study in the first place is promising. While it’s been a long time coming, we should recognize this milestone. I know just the way we could celebrate. Toke on, Dreamers!
[i] Seriously, moldy weed? What the heck, man!