Research Bias Uncovered: US funding for medical cannabis focuses on the harms of the drug. This can affect how your doctor treats you

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The U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) “dominates cannabis research funding, both nationally and internationally” … and has “doled out far more money to research cannabis misuse and its negative effects than on using cannabis … as a therapeutic drug,” says a report in the journal Science.

For academic insiders this merely confirms ‘word on the street’ that the “lions share” of government grants go to research that focuses on harms. For the rest of us, however, the report has real world consequences because this funding bias has negatively shaped physician attitudes towards cannabis and towards people looking to use it as medicine.

Harvard’s Peter Grinspoon spelled this out in a series of tweets. He begins at the top, singling out NIDA’s director as someone who thinks cannabis “harms your humanity,” and calls out NIDA’s misguided funding priority as having poisoned the attitudes of psychiatrists and physicians to the use of medical cannabis:

Grinspoon’s plea for his colleagues to educate-up and to check their biases at the office door has a lot of company. For instance, the 2019 Mayo Clinic report Clinicians’ Guide to Cannabidiol and Hemp Oils, instructs docs to be better informed about CBD and encourages them not to disregard their patients’ interest in it.

The Mayo Clinic report is an excellent resource for anyone, patients and physicians alike, wanting to learn more about CBD and cannabinoids generally. As we said at the time:

The Clinic’s report is one of the most comprehensive reviews of the CBD literature to date. And because they expressly say they hope their work will inspire physicians to take this exploding area of science seriously, it would probably be a good idea to give your doctor a copy of it.

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