National Institute of Drug Abuse


There is finally considerable interest in the possible therapeutic uses of cannabinoids by the Federal Government. As of January 31, 2014, there were 28 active grants related to this topic, funded by NIDA, in 6 different disease categories.

As part of its mandate to study drug abuse and addiction and other health effects of both legal and illegal drugs, NIDA funds a wide range of research on cannabis; its main psychoactive ingredient, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC); and chemicals related to THC, including:

  • Patterns and trends in cannabis usage and attitudes, particularly among adolescents
  • Short- and medium-term effects of THC on the brain and behavior; driving under the influence of cannabis
  • Long-term effects of prenatal and adolescent cannabis exposure on brain development
  • The development and impact of prevention programs on cannabis use
  • The working of the brain’s cannabinoid system, including its role in pain and HIV
  • Potential therapeutic uses of THC and other cannabinoids in treatment of pain, HIV, and addiction
  • Social, behavioral, and public health impacts of policy changes related to cannabis legalization.