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The cannabis industry has perceived this as a “statement” at the heart of the government and other funding bodies. As much as the conversation on cannabis legalization is ongoing, the focus seems to be on “mitigating risks” of the herb and not tapping into the potential that lies in the whole plant. With this, one would wonder if we are headed back to the years of cannabis stigmatization. Whatever the case, this finding is quite telling of the status quo on cannabis.
The study was conducted by Jim Hudson, a lead researcher for medical charities and government agencies. Data was sourced from a database of 50 funders, both public and charitable organizations. A total of 3269 grants that were channeled towards cannabis research were included in the analysis.
The analysis was stretched over 19 years, from 2000- 2018, and involved the U.S., U.K., and Canada. In this period, total funding of $1.56 billion was channeled towards cannabis. It’s interesting to note that more than half this amount was spent researching the potential harms of cannabis. Of this amount, a whopping $1 billion was doled out by the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).
For the period under investigation, the U.S. spent $1.49 billion, the U.K. $40 million, and Canada $32.2 million. Cannabis research in the U.S. and the U.K. focused on the harmful effects of cannabis, while in Canada, research was more focused on the endocannabinoid system.
The endocannabinoid system regulates various important functions in the body, including the sensation of pain, inflammation, metabolism, moods, hormonal function, and sleep, among others. This system forms the basis of medicinal cannabis and endocannabinoid- based therapies.
All hope is not lost, though.
Cannabis research funding is growing in leaps and bounds. In 2000, cannabis research funding was at $30 million, while in 2018, it stood at $143 million. With this, funding towards the medicinal value of the plant is likely to increase commensurately.