Medical Marijuana

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University of Utah launches $740,000 study on how marijuana interacts with the human brain — and why it affects some people differently

Medical Marijuana Posted Apr 24 2018

Some Utah legislators have attempted to legalize medical marijuana for limited conditions in the past with no luck. Now it looks like Utah is not only going to put the legalization of medical marijuana on the voter ballot this November but the University of Utah will also be conducting a huge research project to more thoroughly examine how cannabis interacts with the brain. The study will take place over two years and hopes to answer many critical questions when it comes to understanding what cannabis does to the brain as well as why some people react differently. With 29 states in the U.S. already having legalized medical marijuana it's important to do extensive research on the plant to make sure humans are using it the most safe and efficient way possible. This study is primarily possible due to lawmakers passing a bill last year that specifically allowes the state to grow cannabis for the purpose of research.

State legislators have balked at legalizing access to the drug in recent years, often citing what they view as insufficient medical research. But Utah support for medical legalization has nevertheless stayed around 75 percent.

The biggest medical unknowns about marijuana include which brain receptors its so-called cannabinoids interact with and which mechanisms are at work in how the drug affects anxiety, pain and mood, Jon-Kar Zubieta, a U. psychiatrist and the study’s co-investigator, said in a statement.

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