ICRS Meeting Features NIDA Cannabis Research

NIDA supported the 2019 International Cannabinoid Research Society meeting and coordinated three sessions. The meeting was held June 29 to July 4 in Bethesda, Maryland. NIDA Division of Extramural Research Director Susan Weiss discussed the implications of U.S. cannabis policy on public health during the opening plenary session. NIDA International Program Director Steven Gust chaired a NIDA Networking Session, updating participants on NIDA’s current cannabinoid research and funding priorities. NIDA Division of Neuroscience and Behavior (DNB) Director Rita J. Valentino reported on basic research opportunities and priorities related to cannabinoids. Roger Sorensen, chief of the DNB Integrative Neuroscience Branch, discussed current DNB basic research on cannabinoids. Robert Walsh, chief of the Regulatory Affairs Branch in the NIDA Division of Therapeutics and Medical Consequences (DTMC), suggested ways that DTMC can help develop cannabis-based medications. Aidan Hampson described current and potential DTMC Clinical Research Grants Branch support for cannabis research. Marsha F. Lopez, chief of the Epidemiology Research Branch in NIDA’s Division of Epidemiology, Services and Prevention Research, reviewed the Institute’s current cannabis policy research portfolio and suggested future directions for policy studies. Zheng-Xiong Xi, chief of the NIDA Intramural Research Program (IRP) Addiction Biology Unit, reviewed cannabis-based medication development for the treatment of substance use disorders. Carl Lupica, chief of the IRP Electrophysiology Research Section, described research into cocaine-induced endocannabinoid release that is mediated by extracellular vesicles in the ventral tegmental area. Beth Babecki, DNB Training Coordinator, and Rao Rapaka, chief of the DNB Chemistry and Pharmacology Branch, organized a training session for students, providing an overview of National Institutes of Health and NIDA training and grant opportunities in cannabinoid research.