The National Institutes of Health awarded a $3.8 million grant to Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Health System last week.
The grant is for the first-ever, long-term study to research the impacts of medical marijuana on opioid use among adults with chronic pain.
News of the study came just after President Donald Trump on Aug. 10 stated his intent to tackle the country’s opioid crisis, saying the White House would declare it a national emergency.
Meanwhile, some biotech companies have already been researching cannabis as opioid addiction treatment. Earlier this year, New York- based Axim Biotechnologies Inc (OTC: AXIM) filed a patent for cannabinoid chewing gum to treat those suffering from opioid addiction.
“Opioid addiction is a serious global problem that affects the health, social, and economic welfare of all societies. Opioid addiction therapy depends on a variety of techniques.
One of them is the replacement therapy, where an opioid is replaced with another less potent and less addictive opioid that curbs the craving and reduces withdrawal symptoms, while maintaining the person’s mental state such that the person is still able to function normally,” said AXIM Biotech CEO George E. Anastassov, MD, DDS, MBA, in a press release.
There were more than 33,000 deaths related to opioid overdose in 2015, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Every day more than 91 Americans die from an opioid overdose, and about 1,000 are treated in emergency rooms for using prescribed opioids in a manner other than prescribed.
Medical cannabis is now available in 29 states, and the Mexican government legalized it this June. In states with legal medical cannabis, up to 25% fewer opioid-related deaths have been recorded, according to recent reports. Ninety-four percent of Americans support allowing adults to use marijuana for medical purposes if their doctor prescribes it, according to a Quinnipiac poll.
Axim expects to submit an FDA application to start a trial on opioid-dependent patients this year, according to Reuters.
California-based Nemus (OTC: NMUS) is also testing a synthetic CBD compound on rats with chronic pain and expects to report data later this year.
CURE Pharmaceutical (OTC: CURR) is researching a new delivery technology that could replace pills. Oral dissolving strips are capable of containing more than one active drug ingredient, making them convenient and safe for patients. CURE was just featured in ENTREPRENEUR magazine for their research regarding cannabis and cancer.
Companies such as Medical Marijuana, Inc. (OTC: MJNA) and their CEO Dr. Stuart Titus are exporting CBD from hemp to Brazil with a federal import permission for chronic pain, where in a surprising and forward-looking move, the federal government and ANVISA, which is Brazil’s FDA, are now allowing imports for multiple medical indications and the government is even subsidizing the payments under their federal government healthcare system.
Meanwhile, U.S. consumers are currently consuming about 80 percent of the opioids produced globally, when do you think the U.S. and researchers there will catch up?