One of the federal government’s premiere research organs announced last week it would dedicate millions to research of cannabidiol, or CBD, the newly popular cannabis compound.
The National Institutes of Health said Thursday it would direct $3 million towards new research projects into CBD, its uses and health benefits. The announcement comes over half a year into the federal legalization of the substance, which many say has health benefits the science research body want to investigate.
The Associated Press reported that the NIH news release described nine new CBD-related studies, with no THC studies included. 
From the AP report: “'The science is lagging behind the public use and interest. We're doing our best to catch up here,’ said Dr. David Shurtleff, deputy director of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, which is funding the projects.” 
Researchers say THC investigations have largely outstripped CBD science, as it is now legal in some for in over 30 U.S. states and in many it has been for years. With new surveys of the less familiar substance, excited new customers might find clarity on its uses and potency. 
University of Utah scientists will be the only one of the NIH grant recipients who will be able to study human subjects in this round of testing and observation. Still, this is a huge step forward in a realm of research that has largely been restricted to animal studies. 
That study will analyze an experimental group that receives pudding infused with CBD and a control group of ordinary pudding, then observing them as both groups face their chronic back pain. 
“The treatment of chronic pain has relied heavily on opioids, despite their potential for addiction and overdose and the fact that they often don’t work well when used on a long-term basis,” said NCCIH Director Helene Langevin, M.D. in an NIH statement. “There’s an urgent need for more effective and safer options.” 
Other grants from the NIH will be heading to the University of California at San Francisco, Boston Children’s Hospital, the New York University School of Medicine and a number of others. 
“THC may help relieve pain, but its value as an analgesic is limited by its psychoactive effects and abuse potential,” said Shurtleff, according to the NIH statement. “These new projects will investigate substances from cannabis that don’t have THC’s disadvantages, looking at their basic biological activity and their potential mechanisms of action as pain relievers.” 
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