UCLA receives $9.5M for wide-ranging cannabis research

2017 UCLA Cannabis Research Symposium
3 min read

UCLA has received six grants totaling $9.5 million from the California Department of Cannabis Control (DCC), which will support research on a broad range of topics, from the potency and effects of cannabis products to the financial health of California’s cannabis market.

UCLA faculty 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,” said 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.

The two-year grants awarded to UCLA researchers, who are all members of the UCLA Center for Cannabis and Cannabinoids, represent nearly half of the $20 million that the DCC recently provided to 16 academic institutions to further scientific understanding of cannabis and to inform efforts to shape public policy related to the evolving legal cannabis market.

The UCLA studies funded by these awards include:

  • An evaluation of increasingly popular synthetic cannabinoids to gauge potency, potential psychoactive and therapeutic effects of known and novel cannabinoids (grant amount: $2 million). Principal investigators: Neil Garg and Kendall Houk, UCLA department of chemistry and biochemistry; and Yi Tang, UCLA department of chemistry and biochemistry and UCLA department of chemical engineering.
     
  • Estimates of medicinal use of cannabis among clinical populations in California, including prevalence, frequency, quantity, reasons for use and adverse effects including disordered use ($1.85 million). Principal investigators: Dr. Lillian Gelberg, UCLA department of family medicine, and Marjan Javanbakht, department of epidemiology.
     
  • A controlled human drug-administration study to compare the adverse effects of smoked cannabis and inhaled concentrates (“dabs”), which contain high amounts of THC, the main psychoactive compound in cannabis ($1.83 million). Principal investigator: Ziva Cooper, UCLA Center for Cannabis and Cannabinoids, in collaboration with Daniele Piomelli, UC Irvine, and Jacob McDonald, Lovelace Biomedical Research Institute.
     
  • Assessing the health of California’s cannabis market as state and federal policymakers weigh legal and regulatory changes ($1.68 million). Principal investigators: Brittany Bass, UCLA Integrated Substance Abuse Programs (ISAP), and Beau Kilmer, RAND Corporation, in collaboration with researchers at UCLA’s Anderson and Luskin schools, RAND and Cannabis Public Policy Consulting.
     
  • A controlled human drug-administration study exploring whether cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive chemical in the cannabis plant, may reduce the adverse effects of THC and enhance its therapeutic properties ($1.63 million). Principal investigator: Ziva Cooper, UCLA Center for Cannabis and Cannabinoids, in collaboration with Daniele Piomelli of UC Irvine.
     
  • Collection and analysis of data regarding the medical experience of cannabis use in a diverse patient population in California, including associated diagnoses, product preferences, cannabinoid content and access to medicinal cannabis ($437,465). Principal investigator: Dr. Timothy Fong, Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA in collaboration with California-based physicians Dr. Sherry Yafai, Dr. Bonni Goldstein, Dr. Lauri Vollen and Dr. Jeffrey Hergenrather.

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