The avenues for cannabis research continue to multiply.
Just last month, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released its first annual update for a first-of-its-kind federal review of studies on cannabis for pain, first announced in 2020. In February, the National Institute on Drug Abuse issued a Notice of Special Interest for Public Health Research on Cannabis, following its announcement for unprecedented funding for cannabis research in September. And, there are now five DEA-registered growers of cannabis for research – just one year ago, and for decades before that, there was only one.
So, it is against this backdrop that the National Cancer Institute published a Notice of Special Interest this month regarding its first-ever grants for the study of cannabis and tobacco co-use in an effort to ultimately “advance tobacco prevention.”
The funding, $50,000 for one year, is meant to be “supplemental” to “existing awards” in order “to collect new data and/or analyze existing data.”
“Tobacco use causes approximately 30% of cancer deaths in the United States. Recent population-level data indicate that as many as 30% of tobacco users may also regularly use cannabis,” the notice reads. Thus, understanding co-use patterns, from youth initiation of both to longtime tobacco smokers’ attempts to quit, “likely has important implications for cancer prevention and control.”
The notice acknowledges the fast-shifting landscape, as new tobacco and cannabis products are rolled out, and as cannabis policies are constantly changing.
Among the “specific topics of interest” are:
“Examining the mode and frequency of co-use, including any diversity in products used;
Investigating whether cannabis use is considered in tobacco prevention and control interventions;
Examination of environmental, media, advertising, marketing, and policy influences on initiation and regular use of tobacco and cannabis in adults and youth;
Understanding potential interactions between tobacco- and cannabis-related policies and tobacco prevention and control.”
Back in December 2020, NCI hosted a four-day event called the Cannabis, Cannabinoids, and Cancer Research Symposium, as Cannabis Wire reported at the time.