RADOR-KY is an NIH-funded research grant; the project integrates large data sets from various sources to answer important public health questions, like cannabis usage and cannabis poisonings in Kentucky. 

Principal Investigators: Drs. Jeff Talbert and Svetla Slavova 

Data Science Team: Aaron Smith, Drew Speer, Amber Kizewski, Peter Rock, Daniel Harris

KIPRC, RADOR-KY, and Others

The Cannabis Center has established collaborations with several research groups to access and analyze large data sets to better understand patterns of cannabis use and rates of cannabis-related harms. 

The goal of these projects is to examine public health data: 

  • across the past five years (as a baseline assessment) to determine how frequently cannabinoids have been involved in injuries/medical events
  • to continue to assess over the next several years the impact of cannabis policy (e.g., medical marijuana laws)

Cannabinoid involvement in: 

  • opioid overdose deaths
  • car crashes, fatal accidents
  • DUI arrests
  • pediatric poisonings


CDC-Funded Overdose to Action Group (OD2A)

  • The Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center (KIPRC) received an OD2A Project Grant (Dana Quesinberry, PI) from the CDC to carry out a full program of research on opioid overdose surveillance studies
  • The Cannabis Center has paired with this team on one project to examine the presence of cannabinoids in remnant serum and urine samples from patients treated at the UK Albert B. Chandler Hospital Emergency Department

View the UK Investigator Team for Cannabis Project 


UK College of Medicine Department of Anesthesiology

Preoperative Illicit Substance Use Evaluation: Comparing Current Screening Methods vs. Structured Evaluation 

  • Investigators: Dr. Kevin Hatton, Dr. Shanna Babalonis, and fourth year medical student, Mel Zakharia
  • Study objective: To determine the best method of assessing illicit drug use prior to surgery
  • Medical concern: Illicit drug use can place patients at higher risk for surgery and anesthesia-related harms
  • Public health impact: This study will help us determine how to best respond to new anesthesia recommendations regarding evaluation of cannabis use


Evaluation of CBD Product Contents

Across a series of studies, our team (project lead: Erin Johnson, PhD) analyzed 80 CBD oil-based products that were purchased in Kentucky stores and popular online retailers. 

Over-the-counter CBD Products:

  • Product labels do not list all of the cannabinoids present in the product - including Δ9-THC.
  •  The labels are often incorrect - the amount of CBD in the product is the frequently inaccurate.

The Contamination: 

  • 52 out of the 80 samples tested contained Δ9-THC
  • Δ9-THC ranged from 0.008 to2.07 mg/mL 
  • Estimates suggest 0.021 - 0.4mg of Δ9-THC may produce a THC-positive drug test
  • 60 percent of products were above 0.021 mg limit; 37 percent of samples were above the 0.4 mg limit
  • 5 out of 21 products labeled "THC Free" contained Δ9-THC 


Data Visualization

Collaboration with Other Universities

Indiana University

The Cannabis Center is collaborating on an NIH-funded project with cannabinoid scientists at Indiana University Bloomington -they are internationally recognized experts in the cannabinoid neuroscience 

We plan to examine endocannabinoid and lipid profiles in participants with opioid use disorder

The Cannabis Center expects to receive approximately $50,000 for this project

We are waiting on the official notice of award; we expect to receive notification in September 2023


Johns Hopkins Medicine

The Cannabis Center is planning to host a cannabinoid science retreat with faculty from Johns Hopkins. This research group is comprised of internationally-recognized experts in the human behavioral pharmacology of cannabinoids

  • UK will host the Johns Hopkins team in Lexington for several days of workshops and presentations; teams will share data from their current/ongoing projects 
  • Tentatively scheduled for November 2023 
  • Ultimate goal of this event - to plan a collaborative project and grant application