The National Institute for Drug Abuse has issued a notice of special interest encouraging grant applications on the "effects of changing cannabis laws and policies in the U.S. and globally on public health."
The federal institute is a science-centered research organization responsible for providing the government with actionable information related to drug abuse and drugs in general. The institute also provides funding for research opportunities.
Changes in cannabis policy around the country and the world are "far outpacing the knowledge needed to determine and minimize the public health impacts of these changes."
Based on this urgency, the institute issued the notice identifying key research areas where attention should be placed. The information drawn from a previous work group report led by the same organization last year.
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The research objectives include:
- Developing standards for measuring cannabis dosing, intoxication and impairment, including for hemp and hemp products.
- Enhance existing epidemiology research to study trends for cannabis use and CUD, including new products, patterns of use and reasons for use in different populations.
- Characterize the composition and potency of cannabis, including methods of administration, cannabis extracts and concentrates and cannabis of varying constituents, such as cannabinoid or terpene content, as well as how those factors impact physical and mental health.
- Determine the physical and mental health antecedents of use, as well as outcomes of use.
- Explore the impact of polysubstance use on health outcomes, including interactions with alcohol, tobacco and prescription and nonprescription opioids.
- Examine reasons for initiation and continued use of marijuana for therapeutic purposes.
- Investigate the effects of different patterns of cannabis use on brain development, educational attainment and transition to work and adult roles.
- Identify the effects of maternal cannabis consumption during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
- Develop effective roadside tests for cannabis impairment that can be practically deployed by law enforcement.
- Determine the prevalence of cannabis-involved vehicular crashes and other types of injury or property damage.
- Investigate how cannabis industry practices, including research on marketing, taxes and prices, impact use and health outcomes.
- Determine the impact of federal, state and local marijuana policies and their enaction on use and health outcomes.
- Explore the heterogeneity of regulatory schemes, such as models for retail distribution of cannabis, to understand which combinations or components minimize harm to public health.
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