As more states enact laws that allow patients access to medical marijuana, cannabis research for medical use is gaining traction.

Although cannabis for medical or recreational purposes has not been approved at the federal level, a growing number of states are passing laws giving patients and anyone 21 or older the ability to legally use cannabis in numerous forms, including edibles.

Thirty-six states (plus the District of Columbia) have comprehensive medical cannabis programs, and another 11 have limited access medical marijuana laws, which allow low tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)/high cannabidiol (CBD) products. 

This blog from ImEPIK takes a look at the various research efforts in the U.S. and Canada.

Veterans Committee Calls for PTSD Research

The lack of federal legalization (and the federal grant money it would allow) has created roadblocks to some research, although some funds have gone to research CBD.

In early November, the House Veterans Affairs Committee passed a bill that requires the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to study the potential benefits of using medical marijuana for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and chronic pain treatments. The VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act mandates that the VA launch clinical trials to test the effects of marijuana on veterans.

medical cannabis researchThe VA and Biden administration, however, oppose the measure. The House Veterans Affairs Committee approved similar versions of the bill in 2018 and 2020, but they were not enacted.

According to a recent Politico article, veterans use marijuana to self-medicate for the PTSD and chronic pain they received in combat. Yet, according to Politico, lawmakers routinely cite the lack of empirical, Food and Drug Administration-approved research to avoid federal action on cannabis.

Research mostly continues without federal support, partly because physicians and others in health care see a need to learn about the effects of cannabis. In addition, with a rising number of patients using marijuana for medical or recreational purposes, the medical community sees a need to learn more about the drug and its effects.

Survey: Cannabis ‘Valuable’ for Pain Treatment

A recent survey by the Eberhardt School of Business focused on attitudes and knowledge of marijuana at the university’s dental school. A total of 277 students and faculty at the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry answered 50 questions on marijuana.

The majority of survey participants favored legalizing medical marijuana and reported that it is “valuable for pain.” In addition, the survey findings support more medical marijuana education and research, according to a summary of the results.

The Elderly and Chronic Pain

Medical marijuana research has also focused on treating ailments related to aging, such as managing pain from arthritis. For example, McMaster University, a public research university in Hamilton, Ontario, recently posted an informational video on its Optimal Aging Portal that reviews research on cannabis and its effectiveness and potential side effects when treating chronic pain. Jason Busse, associate director of the Michael G. DeGroote Centre for Medicinal Cannabis Research, also discusses the benefits of medical cannabis compared to opioids for treating chronic pain.

‘Significant’ Reduction in Pain

The Journal of Pre-Clinical and Clinical Research recently reported a case study in which a 35-year-old woman reduced chronic pain with medical marijuana following surgery on a brain tumor. The woman reported a significant reduction in pain. “This observation suggests a significant analgesic effect of cannabis in the treatment of symptomatic headaches,” according to the abstract from the case study.

Administration Supports Industry Supply for Research

Research into how marijuana affects driving recently received a boost from an unlikely source — President Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill. The bill, signed by Biden on Nov. 15, 2021, includes provisions allowing researchers to study the marijuana consumers are legally buying from state-approved dispensaries and not just cannabis grown by the government. The Drug Enforcement Administration has also notified companies that it is considering their applications to supply cannabis for research. Currently, the University of Mississippi is the only federally-approved supplier of cannabis for research.

ImEPIK: A Food Safety Solution for Manufacturers of Cannabis Edibles

ImEPIK food safety experts have developed an interactive, self-paced learning platform for its Cannabis Edibles Safety Course©, which guides employees and managers through a comprehensive program to ensure safe and quality products.

Contact ImEPIK today via our webchat or call us at (866) 318-9855. We’re leaders in food safety training and can provide you and your team with the interactive, informative, and engaging training courses you need for better food safety during cannabis edible production.