The U.S. government will grant $3 million in funding to projects in multiple states discover if cannabis can relieve pain, but none of the research will be on THC, as researchers will focus on CBD only.
Nine research grants were announced to study CBD and other less familiar chemicals from the cannabis plant. THC has been researched extensively, with studies finding cancer patients prefer medical cannabis with higher levels of THC to treat their symptoms and the side effects of cancer treatment. CBD has been found to ease inflammation and seizures.
“The science is lagging behind the public use and interest. We’re doing our best to catch up here,” said Dr. David Shurtleff, deputy director of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, which is funding the projects.
CBD has swept the nation as the newest health craze. One in seven Americans use CBD to treat pain, anxiety and sleep problems. CBD has also been used to treat depression, digestive issues and muscle spasms. A survey by market research firm Packaged Facts found one in three pet owners have given their dog or cat CBD.
“What we started tracking this year was an explosion—face mask, bug bites, skin care, topicals,” said Bethany Gomez, director of research for the Brightfield Group. “It’s being used for everything you can think of—sports, triathlons. People want to buy it for their grandma, for arthritis. Women get it for PMS and endometriosis—common things that people have been using over the counter medications.”
Cannabis industry analysts project the market for CBD sales in the U.S. will exceed $20 billion by 2024. The forecast accounts for CBD products sold in licensed dispensaries, pharmaceuticals and general market retail. The analysts predict that the majority of sales of CBD products will soon occur in the general retail market as opposed to cannabis dispensaries.