Pa. dispensaries to participate in national research program on chronic pain
Licensees in the Pennsylvania medical marijuana program announced their participation in a national research program that will study the effects the drug has on people suffering from chronic pain.
Pennsylvania is the first state where a coalition of medical marijuana businesses have banded together to have its patients represented in the University of Michigan, physician-led study.
“This study will eventually help us better understand the possible risks and benefits related to the use of real-world cannabis for addressing chronic pain,” said Dr. Sue Sisley, one of the lead researchers on this study. “The problem with controlled trials in the U.S. is they are forced to use cannabis from the federal government, which is known to be very low-quality and not consistent with higher potency and unique strains of cannabis in the regulated markets."
Sisley conducts Drug Enforcement Administration-approved studies for veterans suffering from PTSD and patients experiencing chronic pain. She has been featured on multiple segments of the documentary show "Weed" with Dr. Sanjay Gupta and was given the Arizona Medical Association’s highest honor, the President’s Distinguished Service Award.
The goal of the study is to understand how medical cannabis use among patients with chronic pain affects pain management, quality of life and the use of other medications. Patients who uses cannabis for chronic pain and have a medical cannabis card will be asked to complete an online, anonymous, confidential survey. Once the data is collected and analyzed, it will be published in a peer-reviewed journal to help educate medical professionals on the use of cannabis.
So far, more than 25 Pennsylvania dispensaries have committed to participate and encourage their patients to contribute to the research, making it the first state to collectively contribute to this study. Dispensaries will promote the study when patients meet with their patient care representative at the dispensaries as well as through digital communications.
“This research is critical for the medical community to better understand the real-life application cannabis plays in patients’ lives,” said Chris Visco, whose TerraVida dispensaries will be participating in this research study. “We are thrilled to be the first state to show how the industry can contribute to valuable research.”
“For the study to succeed, medical cannabis license holders have to effectively become deputy-researchers, and patients have to consent to be research subjects,” Sisley said. “The data collected will not have any identifiable patient information in order to protect their privacy.” Anonymous questionnaire data will be entered into a secure electronic database that will be hosted and managed by University of Michigan and supervised by their institutional review board.
The Pennsylvania licensees that will be participating in the study include statewide locations for Cresco Yeltrah (CY+) in Butler, Pa.; Green Thumb Industries in Danville and Erie, Pa.; TerraVida based in Bington, Pa.; CurePenn in Lancaster, Pa., and AES Compassionate Care with a facility in Chambersburg, Pa.