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NCCIH Research Blog

Funding Opportunity for a Resource Center for Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research—Technical Assistance Webinar on January 25, 2024

November 28, 2023

Dr. Patrick Still

Patrick Still, Ph.D.

Program Director

Basic and Mechanistic Research in Complementary and Integrative Health Branch

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

View biographical sketch

There’s growing interest in potential therapeutic uses of cannabis and its constituents among both health care providers and the public. Substances in cannabis have a variety of pharmacologic effects, and rigorous research is needed to understand their mechanisms of action and investigate their possible value in helping to manage health conditions. 

However, investigators working in this field have encountered barriers that have hampered their research. They’ve shared their concerns about these problems at scientific meetings and in their responses to a request for information that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) issued last year. The barriers that many of them have mentioned include difficulty meeting complex Federal and state regulatory requirements, problems obtaining cannabis products suitable for research, a lack of validated measures of cannabis use and exposure, and inadequate scientific infrastructure to support research studies. 

To address these challenges, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, National Institute on Aging, National Institute on Drug Abuse, and National Cancer Institute have issued a funding opportunity for a Resource Center for Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research (RFA-AT-24-006). The new resource center is expected to be a focal point for investigators who are studying cannabis or cannabinoids or who are interested in entering this research space. The center will have these key features:

  • It will be supported through the U24 cooperative agreement funding mechanism. This means that NIH staff will have substantial involvement with the project, working in partnership with the award recipients. 
  • It will include three core components. 
    • The Regulatory Guidance Core will establish a policy clearinghouse, organize regular meetings with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and U.S. Food and Drug Administration regarding regulatory updates, and maintain a webpage on policy changes.
    • The Research Standards Core will share information on high-quality cannabis research products, develop research standards and metrics, and build a repository of best practices.
    • The Research Support Core will organize meetings and workshops, disseminate scientific information through social media, and administer seed funding for registration support and proposal development. The seed funds will reduce barriers to research in this field by supporting regulatory activities. For example, they might cover the costs associated with obtaining a Schedule I DEA registration and acquiring the equipment needed to store and monitor research materials in compliance with regulatory requirements.
  • The deadline for applications is April 16, 2024. NIH plans to fund one resource center.

We will hold a technical assistance webinar on Thursday, January 25, 2024, from 2 to 3 p.m. ET, to discuss the funding opportunity and answer questions. Participating in the webinar is not a requirement for submitting an application, but it’s a great way to get details about this unique project from NIH program and review staff.

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