Pubdate: Sun, 28 Jun 2009
Source: Oregonian, The (Portland, OR)
Copyright: 2009 The Oregonian
Author: Howard Grimes


A misinformed complaint by an Oklahoma senator regarding a $148,000, 
federally funded study at Washington State University Vancouver does 
a major disservice to both the scientific community and to people 
suffering chronic pain ("U.S. senator rips Oregon for 5 projects," June 20).

It is misleading to characterize the WSU Vancouver research as a 
"marijuana study" when in fact it is a chronic pain treatment study.

The objective of the grant is to examine interactions between 
cannabinoids and opioids in the brain. If WSU's preliminary data are 
correct, these interactions could provide groundbreaking treatments 
for people who are suffering. Its early findings are especially 
notable as they relate to other pain-management research.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) found the study to be worthy 
during a highly competitive selection process.

Breakthroughs in this promising area could impact not only medicine 
and the quality of human life, but it also could have major 
economic-development implications. Chronic pain affects millions of 
people in this country and costs billions of dollars annually in lost 
productivity and medical costs. This grant has the potential to be an 
extremely cost-effective investment in health care and the economy if 
better treatments for pain can be developed as a result.

Howard Grimes

vice president for research

dean of the graduate school

Washington State University
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