Request for Information (RFI): Data on Impact of Cannabis Among Youths

Notice Number: NOT-DA-14-003

Key Dates
Release Date: December 18, 2013
Response Date: January 30, 2014

Related Announcements

Issued by
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)


The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is seeking input about the methodological, administrative, logistical and human-subject protection issues involved in a better understanding of the effects of cannabis use and abuse among youths.  The goal is to determine the range of effects on brain development, functioning and connectivity, behavior, and risk for future substance use disorder before and after initial and continued cannabis use among youths. Of particular interest is information on neuroimaging data for resting-state and other modes of inter-regional connectivity furnished by individual research scientists or clinicians across study sites which could be made available for secondary data analysis.


NIDA supports research to understand, prevent and treat substance use disorders and mitigate their consequences by answering questions of public health importance.  Current epidemiological survey data on cannabis use among adolescents suggest that data are needed on the impact of cannabis on brain development, functioning and connectivity and behavior.  Evolving policies on medical and recreational cannabis use may impact the use of cannabis among youths, thus potential risks need to be identified.  Functional neuroimaging measures, such as task-based fMRI, resting-state fMRI, as well as positron emission tomography (PET) indicate that cannabis use and abuse may affect brain activity, executive function, intelligence, and risk behavior.  Formation of large and/or pooled databases may allow questions that require sample sizes and statistical power too large for any one laboratory to collect to understand subtle to profound changes in brain functioning across development pre and post cannabis use and abuse.  Areas of inquiry include the complex relation of brain development, functioning and connectivity to cannabis use, cannabis and alcohol use, synthetic marijuana, and prescription drugs; specific drug use patterns and poly-drug use; comorbid psychiatric conditions; as well as other behavioral phenotypes before, during and after periods of high risk for cannabis use and abuse during adolescence. 

Information Requested

Public comment is sought on approaches to better understand the impact of cannabis and brain development, functioning and connectivity and behavior.  Comments can include, but are not limited to the following areas of concern:

  • Identification of existing  and new infrastructure and resources that could be used to understand the impact of cannabis on brain development, functioning and connectivity and behavior;
  • Identification of participants and/or subsets of participants across critical development periods pre- and post- cannabis use and  additional recruitment strategies if needed;
  • The availability, reliability and value of technologies for analysis of developmental neuroimaging to detect differences pre- and post- cannabis use;
  • Approaches for obtaining high-quality data, including research infrastructure that would be needed, and the advantages of different neuroimaging techniques;
  • Strategies to address co-occurring and/or comparisons between drug use and alcohol, synthetic drugs, prescription drugs; as well as comorbid psychiatric conditions;
  • Functionalities/query tools that would be desirable in  a web portal and linked to data both created by this research infrastructure and imported from other sources;
  • Automated computational tools that would allow investigators to better integrate and perform systems-level analysis of datasets;
  • Applications of translational research from basic science to clinical research on cannabis and brain development, functioning and connectivity and behavior; and
  • Overall barriers/ challenges compared to strengths/benefits of varied approaches to gathering data to understand the impact of cannabis on brain development, functioning, connectivity and behavior across critical/sensitive developmental periods.

Submitting a Response

Responses should include the identification  of the critical issues(s) and recommended approaches.  Responders are free to address any or all of the above items.  All responses must be submitted to by January 30, 2014.  Please include the Notice number NOT-DA-14-003 in the subject line.

Response to this RFI is voluntary. Responders are free to address any or all of the categories listed above. The submitted information will be reviewed by the NIH staff. Submitted information will be considered private to the extent allowed by law. .  Respondents will receive an automated email confirmation acknowledging receipt of their response, but will not receive individualized feedback.

Any identifiers (e.g., names, institutions, e-mail addresses, etc.) will be removed when responses are compiled. Only the processed, anonymized results will be shared internally with NIDA program staff and leadership, as appropriate. The NIH will use the information submitted in response to this RFI at its discretion and will not provide comments to any responder’s submission. However, responses to the RFI may be reflected in future solicitation(s). The information provided will be analyzed and may appear in reports. Respondents are advised that the Government is under no obligation to acknowledge receipt of the information received or provide feedback to respondents with respect to any information submitted.  No proprietary, classified, confidential, or sensitive information should be included in your response. The Government reserves the right to use any non-proprietary technical information in any resultant solicitation(s).


Please direct all inquiries to:

Karen Sirocco, Ph.D.
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Phone: 301-443-4877