Eight Pennsylvania medical schools are teaming up with cannabis producers to prepare medical marijuana studies.
The state’s medical marijuana law includes the research program which is now being developed by the government to carry out cheaper research on the drug.
Penn State researcher Kent Vrana told The Tribune-Democrat that getting the medical marijuana industry to fund the project was a great idea.
He said, “This is what has gotten me so excited: The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is finding a way to support quality research without using tax dollars. I think good things are going to come of it.”
All of the eight enlisted universities will be in contract with a marijuana producer with both a grower and a dispensary permit. The cannabis company is identified as the clinical registrant in the law.
Seven of the eight contracts have been approved:
- Penn State College of Medicine and PA Options for Wellness Inc.
- Drexel University College of Medicine and Agronomed Biologics LLC
- Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University and MLH Explorations LLC
- Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University and Laurel Harvest Labs LLC
- The Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and Curaleaf PA LLC
- Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine and Organic Remedies Inc.
- Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine and CannTech PA LLC
The eighth college, the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, is waiting on its clinical registrant’s application to be approved by the state. It was declined at first, but can now be resubmitted under an extended deadline.
In a statement, the university said, “The University of Pittsburgh is committed to the goal of conducting scientific research to advance our understanding of using medical cannabis products in treating specific diseases. We are hopeful that the state’s extension to the application process will allow our clinical partner to address the additional requirements needed to qualify.”
The medical schools are set to gather in March to finalize their research plans, which hope to close the gaps between cannabis knowledge and use in America. The studies will add to the growing number of cannabis and CBD researchers.
What we know so far
- Penn State will develop a database to compare patient responses to using medical marijuana. It will also conduct double-blind trials to see if cannabis can really help its users. Vrana said, “We’ve been using marijuana for medication for decades. Somebody told somebody they had this condition and they smoked pot and they got better. They are not wrong; we just can’t say they are right.”
- Drexel University will work with Agronomed Biologics LLC to enroll patients to describe the effects of cannabis on serious medical conditions. It also plans to conduct clinical trials and pilot studies to understand just how effective medical marijuana can be. All research will be connected through Drexel’s new Medical Cannabis Research Center.
- Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine and CannTech PA will study how medical marijuana affects patients’ patterns of opioid use. Researchers will also specifically study the anti-inflammatory effects of cannabis for those with intestinal conditions, including Crohn’s disease.
Assistant professor of medicine at Thomas Jefferson’s Sidney Kimmel Medical College Dr. Brooke Worster said, “The value of all cannabis-based research is that it slowly increases our understanding of what conditions, symptoms, and aspects of the plant are medically beneficial, tolerated and safe.”
“The more we know, the more this enables us to look at specific conditions, symptoms and effective dosing that may be amenable to cannabis-based therapy.”