EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Michigan State University researchers will now further their study into the effects of marijuana, after receiving more than $2 million from the National Institutes of Health.

As Michiganders are getting ready to cast their ballots this upcoming Election Day, the fate of legalizing recreational marijuana is still up in the air, but that’s not stopping researchers at Michigan State University from getting a head start to see how the drug may help those with HIV.

“It really takes an entire team of investigators to do this,” said Norbert Kaminski, a professor of pharmacology and toxicology at MSU.

As researchers all around the country are working to study the effects that marijuana has on our bodies, Kaminski will now work to figure out if marijuana can act as an anti-inflammatory and help slow down the mental decline that many HIV patients experience.

“We are hoping to study the ability of various compounds in the cannabis plant to actually act as an anti-inflammatory, to prevent those cells from becoming activated,” said Kaminski.

Kaminski’s team will take blood samples from hundreds of HIV patients who will say whether they use medical marijuana.

“We still have yet to find out whether the use of medical marijuana also will be detrimental in terms of inhibiting other white blood cells that are important in protecting against the virus,” said Kaminski.

Kaminski says this research wouldn’t be possible without the $2.4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health.

“Many of us who do research often don’t have an opportunity to see how it may be able to help people,” said Kaminski.

He says he’s hoping to make a difference in people’s lives and actually see the effects his research will have.

“I think that’s very rewarding,” said Kaminski. 

With this five year project just getting started, Kaminski says he’s looking forward to helping others in the best way he knows how.