The Johns Hopkins University Cannabis Science Lab (CSL) includes a multidisciplinary group of faculty and staff with an overall goal of empirically evaluating the behavioral pharmacology of cannabis and various cannabis constituents through rigorous preclinical (i.e., experimental rodent models) and clinical research (i.e., human laboratory studies and randomized-controlled trials). Our research spans multiple domains; specific types of research include:

Cannabis regulatory science
  • Systematic evaluation of dose, route of administration, product formulation, and chemical composition on the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics associated with acute cannabis/cannabinoid exposure.
  • Characterization of the interactive effects between various cannabis constituents (e.g., THC, CBD, and terpenes/minor cannabinoids).
  • Research to inform workplace and roadside drug testing policies.
  • Retail cannabis product testing and surveillance.
  • Assessing performance/impairment (e.g. cognitive, behavioral, simulated driving) after acute cannabis/cannabinoid exposure, both alone and in combination with other impairing substances (e.g., alcohol).
Studies on the health effects of cannabis/cannabinoids
  • Controlled clinical trials on the therapeutic efficacy and potential adverse effects of medicinal cannabis/cannabinoid use for individuals with a variety of health conditions (e.g. pain, anxiety, depression, epilepsy, autism, multiple sclerosis, dementia).
  • Preclinical studies on the effects of cannabis/cannabinoids on mood, pain, stress/anxiety-related disorders and mitigation of opioid withdrawal.
  • Longitudinal observational “real-world” studies of individuals using cannabis for therapeutic purposes.
  • Evaluation of drug-drug interactions between cannabis/cannabinoids and other drugs (e.g., alcohol, nicotine, and prescription or OTC medications).
  • Understanding neurobiological mechanisms of cannabis effects via advanced brain imaging and preclinical studies of endocannabinoid system modulation in models of psychiatric illness (e.g. addiction, stress-related disorders).
  • Evaluation of how individual differences (e.g. sex, age, tolerance) impact the risks and benefits of cannabis use.
Studies on Cannabis Use Disorder (CUD)
  • Assessment and characterization of cannabis withdrawal.
  • Relation between chronic cannabis use and sleep.
  • Pharmacological treatment of cannabis use disorder.

Overall, research at the JHU Cannabis Science Lab is focused on objective science that can inform public policy, regulation of cannabis products, patient-provider decisions regarding the medicinal use of cannabis, prevention and treatment of problematic cannabis use behavior, and other key unanswered questions related to cannabis/cannabinoids.