OXFORD, Miss. (WJTV) – The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) awarded the University of Mississippi (UM) School of Pharmacy a $1.37-million grant to focus research on reducing HIV-related pain through cannabis.

Assistant Professor of Pharmacology Nicole Ashpole, Director of Marijuana Project Mahmoud ElSohly and Assistant Professor of Pharmacology Jason Paris screen and identify the compounds found in cannabis that may hold anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects without the addiction potential.

“Cannabis has hundreds of compounds in it other than THC and CBD, and we don’t know much about how these compounds might affect the human body. By exploring the effects of these compounds against HIV pain, we can gain insight into their potential benefits or risks in numerous other inflammatory disease states,” said Ashpole.

“Our preliminary data suggests that some of the non-psychoactive compounds in cannabis can reduce inflammation in the central nervous system and HIV-related pain using vivo models,” said Paris.

The researchers hope to find results that could potentially provide improvements over current therapeutics available to HIV-positive and uninfected patients.

“I feel very fortunate to be in an environment that is recognized as a stronghold in this field, and I am delighted to think our ideas can continue to expand the research program here at the university,” said Ashpole.