Medications Development for Cannabis-Use Disorders:Clinical Studies

Grants and Contracts Details


Cannabis is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States, and its use is associated with rates of development of abuse and dependence, treatment admission and relapse that are comparable to other illicit drugs. Currently there is no effective pharmacological treatment for cannabis-use disorders. The overarching goal of my career is to develop a clinical research program in which I am able to screen potential medications for cannabis-use disorders using an efficient, evidence-based progression of laboratory procedures followed by an evaluation of the efficacy of promising leads in dependent, treatment-seeking individuals. My graduate and post-doctoral training and K01 and R01 support have enabled me to build an independent research program in which rational targets for medications development are identified based on the neuropharmacology of 9-THC. My research has identified compounds that could represent major breakthroughs in cannabis-use treatment. The goal of this K02 award is to continue my career development trajectory by acquiring the additional skills and experience needed to move my research into the next steps of the screening process. In order to achieve this goal, I have formulated a career development plan that includes additional coursework, training with expert preceptors, relevant research and data publication/presentation activities, further grant development, and the receipt and delivery of training in the responsible conduct of research. The research to be conducted during the funding period consists of a three-step screening process to 1) identify targets and/or specific compounds for subsequent screening; 2) test the safety and tolerability of cannabis administration during maintenance on candidate medications; and 3) test the ability of maintenance on putative pharmacotherapies to attenuate the reinforcing effects of cannabis under controlled laboratory conditions while simultaneously monitoring changes in cannabis use in the natural ecology. Importantly, this last step represents an innovative approach that will enhance the efficiency of early phase clinical trial research, direct the choice of candidate medications for full scale clinical efficacy testing, and facilitate my eventual transition to clinical trials research. This research will be carried out in the Department of Behavioral Science at the University of Kentucky, which is an exceptional environment, having the necessary physical and intellectual resources for successful completion of the proposed career development plan. Moreover, this institution is committed to my scientific development and has acknowledged that my research program is an integral part of its scientific community. I have a solid foundation of training and research experience, have established a strong record of productivity and independent funding, and have demonstrated a commitment to mentoring the next generation of scholars interested in the treatment of cannabis-use disorders. The career development activities supported by the K02 award will allow me to sustain and expand these efforts, and thus meet my career goals, which will directly impact the field of cannabis-use treatment.
Effective start/end date7/1/116/30/16


  • National Institute on Drug Abuse: $487,340.00


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