The school’s scientists will evaluate whether CBD can be safely and effectively used to treat psychosis, rheumatoid arthritis, insomnia, alcohol dependence, and anorexia nervosa.
The state is giving UC San Diego $3 million to broaden its exploration of the medicinal value of cannabis, particularly the non-psychoactive compound cannabidiol, or CBD.
The money will be split between five research projects that will explore whether it is safe and effective to use CBD to treat psychosis, rheumatoid arthritis, insomnia, alcohol dependence, and anorexia nervosa.
The work will be carried out by UCSD’s Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research (CMCR), which is already studying whether CBD can alleviate severe autism in children.
That research was made possible by a $4.7 million donation last spring from the Ray and Tye Noorda Foundation of Lindon, Utah. It is the largest gift of its kind.
Two years earlier, the California legislature gave UCSD $1.8 million to try to develop a roadside test that determines whether a person has been operating a motor vehicle while high on marijuana.
The new $3 million study was taken from some of the tax money that the state collected from the legal sale of marijuana in licensed stores in California.
“Within the medical community, there is a lot of interest in the role of medical cannabis and CBD,” Igor Grant, the director of the UCSD cannabis center, said in a statement.
“There is a hope that it could be yet another useful agent in some of these conditions, which are difficult to treat or disabling.”
The compound CBD has been the source of a lot of controversy.
Some scientific studies indicate that CBD can reduce pain, anxiety, inflammation and insomnia in some people. But the compound has not been deeply studied by researchers, primarily because the compound is derived from cannabis. Marijuana is still a Schedule I drug under federal law, meaning that the DEA believes that it has no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.
Harvard Medical School cites the potential benefits of CBD on its website, but adds that the potential side effects of CBD “include nausea, fatigue and irritability. CBD can increase the level in your blood of the blood thinner coumadin, and it can raise levels of certain other medications in your blood by the exact same mechanism that grapefruit juice does.”
And the FDA has repeatedly advised consumers to ignore unsubstantiated claims about the benefits of CBD, including advertising that says that the compound can cure cancer and treat Alzheimer’s disease.