UCLA receives $6.4 million to fund cannabis research

November 19, 2020
Marrecca Fiore

UCLA has received seven grants totaling $6.4 million from the California Bureau of Cannabis Control. The awards will fund studies on topics ranging from the toxicity of inhaled and second-hand cannabis smoke to employment conditions in California’s cannabis industry.

The grants were awarded to faculty from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs and several research centers.

“The grants exemplify the breadth of cannabis research being conducted at UCLA,” said Ziva Cooper, director of the UCLA Cannabis Research Initiative and an associate professor at the Jane and Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA. “The awards offer UCLA the opportunity to showcase its interdisciplinary cannabis research.”

For example, a study led by Saba Waheed and Lola Smallwood-Cuevas of the UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment will focus on documenting workplace experiences, safety conditions and the career trajectory within the cannabis retail and cultivation sectors. 

“We will produce actionable, comprehensive research to inform policymakers, educators, employers and labor organizations to ensure cannabis contributes to the well-being and economic prospects of new generations of workers in a challenging economy and in ways that mitigate the effects of past criminalization of cannabis,” Smallwood-Cuevas said. 

The seven studies being funded by the new awards are:

  • The impact of cannabis potency on the properties, composition and toxicity of inhaled and second-hand smoke (grant amount: $1,429,001); Dr. Michael Roth, UCLA division of pulmonary and critical care medicine, principal investigator.
  • Assessing the feasibility and consequences of implementing a cannabis potency tax in California ($1,082,815); Ziva Cooper, UCLA Cannabis Research Initiative, and Beau Kilmer, RAND Corp., principal investigators.
  • Study of employment conditions and equity in California’s cannabis industry ($1,048,857); Lola Smallwood-Cuevas and Saba Waheed, UCLA Labor Center, principal investigators.
  • Assessing the impact of Proposition 64 on cannabis use, maladaptive cannabis use, cannabis use disorder treatment and public health ($896,794) Howard Padwa and Darren Urada, UCLA Integrated Substance Abuse Programs, principal investigators.
  • A demographic analysis of the California licensed cannabis industry and consumer market ($781,707); Dilara Üsküp, UCLA department of family medicine; Dr. David Goodman-Meza, UCLA division of infectious diseases, principal investigators.
  • The impact of cannabis marketing on California’s youth ($758,517); Dara Ghahremani, Jane and Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA, principal investigator.
  • Understanding the impact of cannabis marketing on cannabis use disparities among sexual and gender minority youth ($414,183) Ian Holloway, UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, and Evan Krueger, University of Southern California, principal investigators.

The awards to UCLA were a portion of nearly $30 million in new grants from the Bureau of Cannabis Control to California public universities to study the impact of Proposition 64, which legalized the recreational use of cannabis for people 21 or older.