Scientists who consulted with the NFL about medical marijuana are trying to solve one of the industry’s biggest shortfalls

A volunteer displays cannabis buds at the La Brea Collective medical marijuana dispensary in Los Angeles, California, March 18, 2014. REUTERS/Lucy NicholsonCannabis.Thomson Reuters

Frustrated by a lack of funding for medical marijuana research, scientists launched a nonprofit institute to bring together the world’s top researchers, according to The International Business Times.

Marcel Bonn-Miller, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania, among others, founded the Institute for Research on Cannabinoids (IROC) to intensively research the medical benefits of cannabinoids, the active chemical compounds in marijuana.

A large part of IROC’s mission will also be raising money and pursuing innovative funding strategies, as federal regulations have made medical cannabis research difficult for scientists.

We are reaching out to individuals with large pockets and medium-sized businesses in this space that are interested in doing this kind of work,” Bonn-Miller told The International Business Times.

An analysis by the Florida Center for Investigative Journalism found that out of $1.1 billion of the $1.4 billion the National Institute of Health spent on medical cannabis research, only $297 million went to researching the effects of cannabis on the brain and the potential medical benefits.

The other $1.1 billion was spent on addiction and abuse, according to the analysis.

Evidence suggests that cannabidiol (CBD), a cannabinoid, is effective as a short term “neuroprotectant” to aid recovery from traumatic brain injuries, though studies have only been conducted on rats.

Bonn-Miller recently spoke with physicians for the NFL to encourage funding for CBD research to aid with concussion recovery and help prevent more long-term effects of brain injury. The conversation could symbolize a change of heart for the sports organization, whose commissioner previously made his opposition to medical marijuana use in the league clear.

With any other drug, the research comes before it reaches a patient,” Bonn-Miller told The International Business Times. “With cannabis, it’s completely the opposite. It’s in the hands of everybody, but nobody knows about dosing, nobody knows the best methods of delivery, nobody knows what strains are best for different uses.

“The cart is so far before the horse in terms of the gap between research and policy,” he added.

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