The UCLA Cannabis Research Initiative (CRI) in the Jane and Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior is dedicated to research and education of cannabis and cannabinoids, the chemical constituents of the cannabis plant. As one of the first university programs focused on the multidisciplinary study of cannabis, we aim to bring together experts from diverse fields to advance the understanding the plant’s impact on body, brain, and society.
Rapid changes in cannabis policy across the US and the globe have been accompanied with increased cannabis availability and accessibility. More people are turning to cannabis for a variety of medical reasons; as a path to health and well-being, to alleviate mild health conditions and symptoms, and even to address chronic debilitating diseases. This trend is occurring despite little information to guide consumers, patients, and health professionals on the safety and effectiveness of cannabis and cannabinoids. In addition to those using cannabis for medical reasons, the legalization of cannabis for recreational purposes has been associated with increased use and negative consequences. We are at a pivotal point when it is a public health imperative to understand the impact of changing cannabis policies and the health outcomes of cannabis use. The UCLA Cannabis Research Initiative is geared towards accelerating research into both the therapeutic and adverse effects of cannabis and cannabinoids. Findings from these studies are critical in directing cannabis education and informing public policy. We are excited to embark on our mission to address the most pressing questions related to the impact of cannabis legalization through rigorous scientific study and discourse across disciplines.