A researcher at the University of California Los Angeles has been awarded a $3.9 million grant to study how cannabis can help with pain relief, the institution announced on Wednesday. The grant from the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health was awarded to Ziva Cooper, the research director of the UCLA Cannabis Research Initiative.

Cooper, who is also an associate professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, will use the grant to study whether cannabis terpenes can reduce the amount of opiate medication a person needs to reduce pain. It is believed that terpenes, which are responsible for the distinctive aromas and flavors of cannabis, can improve the pain-relieving properties of THC while reducing unwanted side effects.

“Chronic pain is a significant public health burden and there are few effective treatments that lack the adverse effects that limit use,” Cooper said Wednesday in a press release.

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