Norbert Kaminski, a toxicologist who has studied the effects of Cannabis since 1990, has received a five-year, $2.4 million NIH grant to further his research on the role of Cannabis in decreasing brain inflammation in HIV patients. Kaminski and his team will take blood samples from several hundred HIV patients who will report whether or not they use medical marijuana. From there, they will assess various aspects of the patients’ immune system as it may relate to indicators of systemic inflammation.
His work also could shed light on inflammation that occurs in other brain-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, with hopes of the research leading to additional therapeutic options. It’s a very interesting research proposal and we’re eager to learn more about it and eventually see the results.
SMPL still has concerns about any federally-funded research in this era simply because of the plant material used in conducting any of these studies. NIH-funded research necessarily uses Cannabis from the Mississippi plot which is of notoriously low quality. It does not remotely resemble any available from state-legal mmj pharmacies or dispensaries and it doesn’t resemble the black market supply either. It is much lower in THC, it is regularly moldy and it arrives to any approved researchers only in a pulverized form which appears to be the result of placing whole plant (stems and all) into a food processor. Some scientists have publicly criticized the NIH and DEA for this situation as it unnecessarily compromises the utility of their results and may even put test subjects at risk due to contamination. Nevertheless, we applaud this research and wish Dr. Kaminski all success in this vital research.