NewsCovering Kentucky


Legislators receive update on Kentucky Center for Cannabis Research

Posted at 12:30 PM, Oct 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-26 17:39:20-04

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — Dr. Shanna Babalonis is on the clock. Armed with a two million dollar grant, Babalonis and her team at the UK Cannabis Center have two years to complete their research and begin clinical trials.

“This would represent one of the first placebo-based randomized clinical trials” (in America), Dr. Babalonis told a group of about 30 legislators from around the state.

Dr. Babalonis will be looking at how cancer patients react to plant-based cannabis in edible forms as a treatment for their tumors. She also noted that this study isn’t limited to cancer. Reducing inflammation in the lungs and managing pain is also going to be examined, as will its impact on obesity.

“Even though we associate cannabis with increased caloric intake afterwards, or having the munchies,” Dr. Babalonis joked, “if you look at the broad data cannabis users on average have a much lower BMI (Body Mass Index) than those who don’t use cannabis,” she continued.

Dr. Babalonis thinks there could also be a positive connection between edible cannabis and helping opioid addictions.

Dr. Ralph Alvarado, the state senator from Kentucky’s 28th district, looks at this from a scientific standpoint given his background, so he needs to see more evidence before being convinced.

“I think the medical community, at large, has been resistant because we haven’t seen the science,” he said.

But Senator Alvarado said he is not averse to accepting potentially positive results that could pave the way, or at least make an argument for the legalization of cannabis.

“If we’re going to be the state that leads on this science, I am encouraged by it, so I’m looking forward to seeing some of these results,” he added.

Dr. Babalonis said that an outpatient clinical trial, after several months of study and regulatory reviews, could take up to eight months to complete.