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Colorado Grants $2.3 Million For Marijuana Health and Safety Research

Ironically, it is only now that marijuana is legal -- at least under state law -- that it is getting scientific scrutiny for safe use.

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The state of Colorado has approved the funding of a half dozen research grants into marijuana. All the studies aim to address questions about public health and safety revolving around legalization of cannabis in the state.

Colin Robertson | Getty Images

The Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment announced the grants at the end of 2016. A total of $2.3 million will go to seven projects. The state already has approved $9 million in research over the past few years.

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Both medical and recreational marijuana is legal in Colorado. Because marijuana was illegal for so long -- and remains so at the federal level -- the intent of the research is to “fill the gaps” in knowledge about marijuana, according to a statement from the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment.

“This research will be invaluable in Colorado and across the country,” Dr. Larry Wolk, executive director and chief medical officer for the department, said in the statement. “The findings will inform our public education efforts and give people additional information they need to make decisions about marijuana use."

Research Studies

When voters made recreational marijuana legal in 2012, the state formed a Retail Marijuana Public Health Advisory Committee to monitor the public health impacts of cannabis use. The committee makes recommendations on the research grants.

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The grant amounts and the research subjects are listed below. The bulk of the money is going to the top two studies, both of which focus on the impact of marijuana on driving impairment.

  • $843,500. Comparative Assessment of Driving Impairment on Occasional Versus Heavy Marijuana Users. A three-year study with researchers from the University of Colorado and the Colorado School of Public Health.
  • $839,500. Acute Effects of Dabbing on Marijuana Intoxication, Driving Impairment, and Cognitive Functioning. A three-year study by the University of Colorado at Boulder.
  • $186,500. Duration of Marijuana Concentration in Breast Milk. A two-year study by the University of Colorado.
  • $97,500. Older Coloradans and Marijuana: A Public Health Problem or Policy Alternative.  A one-year study by the University of Colorado – Colorado Springs
  • $97,500. The Adverse Effects of Edible Cannabis Products. A one-year study by the University of Colorado.
  • $186,500. Analysis of Data from Before and After Implementation of Recreational Marijuana in Colorado. A two-year study by Colorado State University.
  • $99,000. The Cardiovascular Effects of Marijuana in At-Risk Patients. A one-year study by the University of Colorado.

The state received 58 applications for the grant money. The final seven were chose from a pool of 16.

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