Terpenes are in the spotlight again at the moment, as the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) Cannabis Research Initiative obtained a $3.9 million (R 74 264 580.00) grant to study the relationship between terpenes and pain and whether cannabis terpenes are able to reduce the use of opioids in treating pain.
This massive grant was offered by the National Institutes of Health National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, to help fund research into the use of terpenes in pain management as an alternative to opioids.
This injection is allowing Ziva Cooper, the research director of UCLA Cannabis Research Initiative, to examine the Entourage Effect and the way in which cannabinoids and terpenes work together.
The main terpenes that will be observed in this study will be Myrcene and Caryophyllene, these will both be administered to subjects on their own without THC in order to “see whether they help reduce pain on their own, and whether they enhance the pain-relieving effects of THC, while reducing its intoxicating properties,” as said by the university in a recent press release. These terpenes will be studied separately to understand whether they decrease pain when isolated.
Cooper is also an associate professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. She has noted that cannabis specific compounds “may be effective options” in pain management “with minimal side effects” but “placebo-controlled studies to explore this urgent area of research is desperately needed.”
Cooper is the first research director for the Cannabis Research Initiative, and just last year she received a $3.5 million grant to study the pain relieving effects and adverse effects of cannabis and relevant compounds and how they affect males and females differently.
On top of all this, the NIH awarded a further 9 universities various grants amounting to $3 million to study cannabis and other related compounds and their characteristics of pain management. 2017 saw the NIH give $3.8 million to New York’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Health System to fund long term studies similar to those at UCLA, where they look at reducing opioid use with the help of cannabis.
The world is learning more about cannabis each week, with pain management looking like the main focus. Opioids account for the majority of drug related deaths, where an estimated 585 000 people fatally overdosed in 2018. Cannabis has the potential to reduce this and work at eradicating the opioid crisis.