Article by Angela Stelmakowich, Regina Leader-Post
Canadian researchers are hoping to fill in the gaps regarding how effective medicinal marijuana is in treating adults with chronic pain, sleep, anxiety and depression issues as part of a new six-month study.
There’s been plenty of anecdotal evidence on what cannabis can do, but the idea is to flesh out the details and develop what is being touted as the first national database for medical cannabis products. “For the first time, we will have a national repository of data that can provide answers about the effectiveness of these products, to test their claims,” Dr. Hance Clarke, who is heading the study, according to the University Health Network (UHN).
That means researchers involved in the Medical Cannabis Real World Evidence study are on the hunt for at least 2,000 patients who have been prescribed medical weed for any of the aforementioned conditions.
“Patients using medical cannabis can experience a variety of effects depending on the strain and that variability is not accepted in the pharmaceutical industry,” says Dr. Clarke, director of pain services at Toronto General Hospital (TGH).
Participants will be able to select a wide variety of medical cannabis products — including milligrams of THC and CBD — each of which has been tested and verified to ensure batch consistency, notes the UHN, which includes TGH.
Using an online portal created by Canadian retail pharmacy chain, Shoppers Drug Mart, patients can access dried flower, oil extracts, edibles and topicals, and then report how a specific product addresses their specific symptoms.
“Our development of a blockchain secured initiative, with TruTrace Technologies Inc., has now been integrated into an operational portal that will provide products with an immutable digital identity, that can capture everything from detailed chemistry down to its DNA,” Ken Weisbrod, vice president of business development/cannabis strategy for Shoppers, says in a statement.
Consistency is crucial to getting a handle on effects, Dr. Clarke suggests. “The challenge with the medical use of cannabis is that physicians and patients are unsure of the quality of products being consumed,” he explains.