Upcoming Funding Opportunity For Cannabinoid And Terpene Research

Cannabinoid and terpene research
Image: Public Domain

The USA’s National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) intends stumping up $1,500,000 in FY19 to fund research into minor cannabinoids and terpenes.

While an increasing amount of research has gone into the major cannabinoids THC and CBD, there are approximately 113 different cannabinoids in cannabis – and very few others have been closely scrutinised. Add to that 120 terpenes, which are volatile unsaturated hydrocarbons found in the essential oils of plants that give them their aroma and taste, and there’s still so much we don’t know about cannabis’s potential benefits in terms of  human health.

In relation to terpenes, it’s thought they may impact on the activity of cannabinoids or signaling from cannabinoid receptors, but NCCIH says conclusive evidence to support this hypothesis is lacking.

The upcoming funding will support research on  minor cannabinoids and terpenes in relation to pain and nociception, the sensory nervous system’s response to certain stimuli, along with their potential in treating opioid use disorder.

“This initiative intends to support highly innovative basic and/or mechanistic studies in appropriate model organisms and/or human subjects aiming to identify, describe and predict if minor cannabinoids and/or terpenes can help treat pain,” says an NCCIH notice of intent.

NCCIH estimates the official publication date of the funding opportunity announcement will be January 08, 2019, with the first estimated application due date to be March 8. The earliest award date at this stage is September 10 next year. It expects to issue 4 grant awards, with a maximum of $350,00 per award.

At this point in time, a wide range of organizations will be able to apply, from small businesses to universities and government departments.

The notice of intent can be viewed in full here, which has been published to give interested parties sufficient time to develop collaborations, projects and to apply for any necessary licences.

This announcement is another signal that the U.S. Government is changing its stance with regard to medicinal cannabis. Marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I substance at a federal level, meaning it has no demonstrated medicinal value. While this has been well and truly debunked, the wheels of bureaucracy can move incredibly slowly.