In recent years, cannabis has become an increasingly popular topic of research, as more and more people are turning to it for medicinal purposes. The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) is at the forefront of this research, having recently received $9.5 million in funding from the California Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) to explore the potential benefits and risks of cannabis use.
UCLA cannabis research will focus on a number of areas, including the potential therapeutic uses of cannabis to treat chronic pain and mental health issues. This funding is a significant step forward in understanding the potential benefits and risks of cannabis use, as well as in developing effective treatments for a range of medical conditions.
The faculty members receiving the grants come from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, the UCLA Anderson School of Management and UCLA’s Division of Physical Sciences.
“This achievement represents the high level and diverse range of expertise at UCLA, as well as the faculty’s dedication to multidisciplinary and collaborative research,” Ziva Cooper, director of the UCLA Center for Cannabis and Cannabinoids and an associate professor at the Jane and Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA, said in a news release.
Research to Focus on Pain, Mental Health
One area of research that the funding will support is the use of cannabis to treat chronic pain. Chronic pain affects millions of people worldwide. In many cases it is debilitating, limiting a person’s ability to perform daily tasks and reducing their quality of life. Studies have shown that cannabis can be an effective treatment for chronic pain, with some patients reporting significant pain relief after using cannabis.
The UCLA cannabis research will delve into the potential therapeutic uses of cannabis in treating chronic pain, as well as the underlying mechanisms that make it effective. They will also look at the potential risks associated with long-term cannabis use, such as addiction, impaired cognitive function, and the potential for the development of other medical conditions.
Another area of research that the funding will support is the use of cannabis in treating mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression. Many people use cannabis to alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression, but research will focus in part on the long-term effects.
Investigating the Impact of Cannabis
The funding will also support research on the effects of cannabis use on brain development, particularly in young people. Research links cannabis use during adolescence to a range of negative outcomes, including impaired cognitive function, lower academic achievement, and an increased risk of mental health conditions such as schizophrenia. It’s worth noting that studies have found teen use of cannabis has actually dropped in states where cannabis is legal.
The UCLA research team also will investigate the long-term effects of cannabis use on brain development in young people, as well as the potential benefits of using cannabis to treat conditions such as epilepsy in children.
Finally, the funding will support research on the potential risks and benefits of using cannabis in conjunction with other medications. Many people use cannabis to alleviate symptoms of medical conditions such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, and multiple sclerosis, but the potential interactions between cannabis and other medications remain not well understood.