Finding funding for medical cannabis research can be challenging in the USA, but a new initiative is thinking outside the box.
University of New Mexico’s recently launched “Rounding Up for Research” project will raise funds for this purpose and for related student scholarships.
UNM is aiming to team up with cannabis dispensaries across the nation under the initiative, which will see participating dispensary customers being able to round up to the nearest dollar on their cannabis purchases and that difference going to the University’s Medical Cannabis Research Fund (MCRF). It appears the initial goal is to raise $250,000.
“Because the U.S. Federal government has overwhelmingly prioritized funding for research designed to measure the harmful effects of using Cannabis, there is a scarcity of information and governmental resources for investigating the plant’s potential medicinal applications,” says the University.
Cannabis’s continued Schedule I status at a Federal level hasn’t made research any easier either, although there has been some easing of related restrictions in recent years.
Senior scientist and assistant professor at UNM’s Department of Psychology Jacob Miguel Vigil says there is much to be gained from more research and is enthusiastic about the potential for cannabis in a medicinal context.
“Based on our observations, I can easily say that there is no other known medication that is as fast-acting, minimally toxic, and significantly effective at treating such a wide range of physiological, psychiatric, and psychosomatic illnesses as can the Cannabis plant,” he said.
“Rounding up for Research” premiered at several local businesses throughout the state of New Mexico on Tuesday, April 20 – the unofficial “420” cannabis celebration day in the USA*.
The (MCRF) is comprised of faculty and researchers from a variety of disciplines at UNM focused on conducting scientifically valid and unbiased research on medical cannabis across all areas of social and biomedical sciences.
The Medical Cannabis Research Fund was established in August 2016 by Dr. Vigil.
* How the “420 holiday” came to be is covered in this Time article.