There is an abundance of research on marijuana and its benefits, but much of it is anecdotal and fails to pass the muster of the scientific (and government) community. So, when Colorado announced it would be spending $10 million to research medical marijuana, advocates and others alike became understandably excited.
“SB 155 invests the dollars collected from medical marijuana fees into a meaningful effort to study the therapeutic and medical benefits of the drug,” state Rep. Crisanta Duran (D), co-sponsor of the bill that will fund the research. “Patients will benefit from this investment and Colorado will become a national leader in developing medical marijuana research.”
Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) has already signed off on the bill which will reportedly help the state determine which conditions should be added to their current list of eight that qualify residents for medical marijuana use.
“This bill is exciting because it gives researchers the opportunity to show why and how marijuana works, and to do research that the federal government refuses to conduct,” Mike Elliott of Marijuana Industry Group, according to the Huffington Post.
Though recreational pot has only been legal in Colorado for a few years, the medical marijuana industry there has enjoyed more than a decade of operation, as it was legalized in 2000. More than 115,000 patients are currently on the registry, which allows for those with cancer, cachexia, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV, multiple sclerosis, muscle spasms, chronic pain, and severe nausea to gain access to the medicine.
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“More information is needed to further understand potential therapeutic uses of marijuana and its component parts,” reads the bill. “Research on the therapeutic effects of marijuana and its component parts could benefit thousands of Coloradans who suffer from additional debilitating medical conditions that do not respond to conventional treatments and are not currently permissible medical conditions for medical marijuana use.”
The research could provide clear evidence on the effects of marijuana on conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, and more—conditions for which there are indications of benefits but perhaps not the body of research needed to sway legislators and naysayers.