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UCLA Team Plans to Study MMJ’s Painkilling Properties to Fight Opioid Epidemic

Dr. Jeffrey Chen, Director of UCLA’s Cannabis Research Initiative, hopes to launch a large, in-depth study into the painkilling properties of cannabis, NBC reports.

There is a limited number of high quality, randomized, double-blind and placebo-controlled studies specific to the pain-reducing effects of cannabis and cannabinoids — UCLA’s Cannabis Research Initiative hopes to change that.

“The public consumption of cannabis has already far outpaced our scientific understanding. We really desperately need to catch up.” — Dr. Jeffrey Chen, in the report

The study was designed by Edythe London, professor of psychiatry and pharmacology at the UCLA School of Medicine, to test various combinations of THC and CBD. London said the study will identify the protocol that does the “most good” for patients’ pain and opioid use. Prior studies have identified a connection between states that legalize medical cannabis and reductions in opioid overdoses, though much beyond that is still unknown.

The Cannabis Research Initiative still needs funding and permission from the FDA and DEA. The team has collected some funds from a variety of donors, but cannabis’ Schedule I classification — officially marking it as a substance with no medicinal use — stands thoroughly in their way.

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