Amid Opioid Crisis, Researchers Aim to Put Marijuana to the Test - NBC Chicago

Amid Opioid Crisis, Researchers Aim to Put Marijuana to the Test

With one of the first academic programs in the world dedicated to the study of cannabis, researchers hope to conduct a high-quality study using opioid patients

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    In this May 11, 2010, file photo, jars full of medical marijuana are seen at Sunset Junction medical marijuana dispensary in Los Angeles, California.

    Despite anecdotal and historical accounts of pot’s painkilling properties, scientific evidence that it works better than traditional painkillers is hard to come by. But Dr. Jeffrey Chen, director of UCLA's Cannabis Research Initiative, wants to change that, NBC News reported

    The United States classifies marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug with no medical use, like heroin and cocaine. And as a 2015 article in the journal Current Pain and Headache Reports points out, high-quality clinical studies of pot’s effectiveness are limited. 

    "The public consumption of cannabis has already far outpaced our scientific understanding," Chen said. “We really desperately need to catch up.”

    Now, with one of the first academic programs in the world dedicated to the study of cannabis, researchers hope to conduct a high-quality study using opioid patients. The study aims to find out which combination “produces the most good,” according to Edythe London, a distinguished professor of psychiatry and pharmacology at the UCLA school of medicine who designed the study.