The United States spent $1.49 billion on cannabis funding from 2000-2018, according to a Science report. The majority of the funds were spent on understanding potential harms from cannabis use.
Over the same 19-year period, Canada spent $32.2 million, while the UK spent $40 million. Canada’s funding was focused primarily on understanding the endocannabinoid system; like the US, the UK’s funding was focused on the plant’s potential for harm.
Just a fraction of US cannabis research funding was used for therapeutics; the country also spent funds researching attitudes, regulations, markets, and the endocannabinoid system.
The database was assembled by Jim Hudson, a consultant for medical research charities and government agencies, and published to his website.
Daniela Vergara, who researches cannabis genomics at the University of Colorado, Boulder, said the data confirms the “word on the street” that government grants are used predominately to study potential harms rather than benefits.
Daniel Mallinson, a cannabis policy researcher at Pennsylvania State University, Harrisburg told Science that the data “says something” about how governments view cannabis, adding that “the government’s budget is a political statement about what we value as a society.”
The analysis does not include private research funding that is underway throughout the US, UK, and Canada. Hudson indicated he plans on expanding the data throughout the world.