In a notice that was published on Wednesday, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) provided a list of the areas that it considers a priority for marijuana research to focus on. These research objectives show that the federal government is taking note of the increasing levels of success that are being registered by advocates who want to see U.S. marijuana law reform.
NIDA observes that the pace at which marijuana policy reform is taking place outpaces the rate at which knowledge is becoming available to help countries around the world to ascertain how the public health effects of the marijuana policy changes can be assessed.
When the list of 13 priorities is analyzed, it is apparent that the federal agency has decided to be broad-minded as it seeks to understand the wave of cannabis legalization across the country. For example, the agency doesn’t just want to know what effects cannabis has, but also wants to learn why people take to medical marijuana and continue using it.
Some of the other objectives listed in the notice of special interest include developing standards that can be followed while measuring the dosage, impairment and intoxication by cannabis.
Another objective seeks to understand how using marijuana alongside or in substitution of other substances, such as alcohol, prescription and non-prescription drugs, tobacco affects health outcomes. The NIDA notice calls this “polysubstance use.”
The federal agency also wants to know how marijuana industry practices, such as marketing, taxes and product prices impact the health outcomes of cannabis use. From this research objective, one can read that NIDA wants to find out whether cannabis industry players are doing anything to make access to marijuana easier, and whether anything can be done (through taxes, for example) to make the drug less accessible.
Of interest to NIDA are the different policies and systems under which marijuana distribution is done in various jurisdictions across the U.S. Which combination of policies and practices offers the best ways to minimize the potential harms of marijuana to the public?
The recent months have seen a number of federal agencies publish notices of marijuana research funding opportunities. In fact, in May this year NIDA advertised a position which to all intents and purposes required someone who would prepare and analyze cannabis rolls/joints for research purposes.
Industry watchers believe that marijuana industry actors like Green Growth Brands Inc. (CSE: GGB) (OTCQB: GGBXF) and Green Hygienics Holdings Inc. (OTCQB: GRYN) will view this newly published notice authored by NIDA as a sign that the federal government may be considering how to reform its marijuana policies without taking too many chances on matters of public health.
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