The University of Kentucky Cannabis Center is accepting applications for its first faculty pilot grants.

The UK Cannabis Center conducts high-quality research on the health effects of cannabis, including its risks and benefits when used to treat certain medical conditions. It was established by Kentucky House Bill 604 and appropriated $2 million through June 2024.

Based within the UK College of Medicine’s Center on Drug and Alcohol Research (CDAR), the center will build on cannabis research already taking place at UK and expand the profile of clinical cannabis research.

The center is fulfilling that goal through faculty pilot grants to support innovative and collaborative cannabis research. The center is highly interested in the public health impact of cannabinoids in various populations.

“We are hoping to partner with departments and researchers across campus to accelerate cannabis science at UK and conduct studies that focus on the public health impacts of cannabis,” said Shanna Babalonis, PhD, director of the UK Cannabis Center.

“We are currently planning a study with the UK Markey Cancer Center to examine the effects of cannabis doses in a sample of cancer patients. We have also partnered with the Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center (KIPRC) to assess cannabis involvement in overdose deaths and other injuries. We are also working with the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment to understand optimal cannabis growing environments. The faculty pilot grant program will help us connect to the large network of experts here on UK’s campus to further build our medical cannabis research base,” said Babalonis.

Grants in the amount of $50,000-$100,000 will be awarded for a period of 14 months. The highest funding priority is for applications addressing the public health impacts of cannabis. Specifically, the center is hoping to fund high-quality clinical pilot studies that administer controlled doses of cannabis/placebo to determine efficacy and/or the risk/benefit profile for a medical condition.

Studies should examine the effects of cannabis or THC. Research in basic/preclinical science, agricultural research, secondary analysis of large data sets and community research will also be considered.

UK Cannabis Center research will help educate medical providers, legislators and citizens on the risks and benefits of the use of cannabis and cannabinoids as Kentucky considers legalizing the use of medical marijuana.

Any full-time faculty at UK are eligible to apply. You can find the full list of eligibility requirements and application format here.

Click here for a link to the pilot grant application.

The UK Cannabis Center will hold an open Zoom meeting for applicants to ask questions on from 11 a.m.–noon, Monday, Nov. 7. You can join the meeting here. If you can’t attend the meeting, you can contact Drew Speer.

Key dates:

  • Application submission: Jan. 16, 2023
  • Funding decisions: Feb. 20, 2023
  • Project start date: April 1, 2023
  • Project end date/final report due: May 31, 2024