The National Institute of Health is planning to spend $3 million of taxpayer money to fast-track three projects involved with the development of drugs that will treat marijuana addiction. The decision came after statistics showed that over 4 million Americans are addicted to cannabis, so as legalization continues to spread across the U.S., the NIH wants to make sure they have reserach in place should the addiction numbers begin to increase.
According to an article in The Washington Times, the federal government submitted a proposal for the multi-million dollar grant last month. It stated, “Cannabis use is an increasing public health concern in the United States that requires immediate attention. Given the high prevalence of marijuana use and its associated disorders and the large number of people who seek treatment, there is a critical need to discover and develop safe and effective treatments for [cannabis use disorders].”
In the proposal, the National Institute on Drug Abuse claimed that marijuana is the “most commonly used illicit drug, with an estimated 2.4 million people trying it for the first time last year, and has the highest number of Americans dependent on or abusing it.” According to a study by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, the number of heavy marijuana users has increased sevenfold in the U.S. since its lowest point in 1992. Heavy marijuana users represent only about 2 percent of the U.S. population, but daily and near-daily marijuana users consume 80 percent of the marijuana in the country.
Still, according to a National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine study, marijuana is less addictive than alcohol and nicotine. Marijuana proponents are baffled as to why millions of taxpayer dollars would be put into this research, since opiates also have high addiction rates and are harmful to society.
The article also pointed out that the institute’s recommendation for research is also a much different opinion of the policies the Obama administration has recommended. The President’s administration is being considered as the most progressive in history in terms of perspectives on marijuana use.
Also of note, the National Institute on Drug Abuse was bestowed with the Washington Times’ weekly Golden Hammer, which recognizes waste, fraud and abuse in the federal government.