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What are UNM Researchers Accomplishing in the World of Medical Cannabis Research?

Advancements in Science

Stith, S. S., & Vigil, J. M. V. (2016). Federal barriers to Cannabis research. Science. 352(6290), 1182. 

Filbey F. M., Aslan S., Calhoun V.D., Spence J.S., Damaraju E., Caprihan A., & Segall J. (2014). Long-term effects of marijuana use on the brain.  Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 111(47):16913-8. 

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Advancements in Society

Local

UNM Scientist and Private Physician Write the First Medical Cannabis Research Bill. In February, 2015, UNM scientist, Dr. Jacob M. Vigil, and clinical pain specialist, Dr. Anthony Reeve wrote the first Medical Cannabis Research Bill to mandate that the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program direct a consistent proportion of revenue produced by the Program to local research on medical Cannabis. Supported in the Senate by Senator Jerry Ortiz (SB 516) and in the Congress by Representative Armstrong (HB 466), while gaining much traction in both houses of congress, failed to get the final approval before the end of the legislative session.  The Bill continues to be proposed each legislative session and is expected to pass into law in the near future.   

National

UNM Scientists Help Direct Federal Medical Cannabis Policy.  In July, 2016 the Director of the Division of Extramural Research for the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), Dr. Susan Weiss, cited a recent article published one month earlier by UNM scientists, Drs. Sarah Stith and Jacob Vigil, in her testimony to the U.S. Senate to justify medical Cannabis research reform. Soon after, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) "announced a policy change designed to foster research by expanding the number of DEA- registered marijuana manufacturers. This change should provide researchers with a more varied and robust supply of marijuana." Further,  "...the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), in consultation with DEA and the FDA, also released a statement of principles concerning provisions of the Agricultural Act of 2014 relating to the legalized growing and cultivating of industrial hemp for research purposes under certain conditions, such as in states where growth and cultivation are legal under state law." Sadly, these changes do not minimize the need for the MCRF to help fund scientifically valid and unbiased research on the true safety and efficacy of using medical Cannabis as a pharmacological agent in our present society.